Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/8967
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: 'The centre cannot hold': complexity and difference in European Union policy towards a learning society
Authors: Edwards, Richard
Boreham, Nicholas
Contact Email: r.g.edwards@stir.ac.uk
Issue Date: Jul-2003
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Citation: Edwards R & Boreham N (2003) 'The centre cannot hold': complexity and difference in European Union policy towards a learning society, Journal of Education Policy, 18 (4), pp. 407-421.
Abstract: The notions of lifelong learning and a learning society have been an important policy driver in the European Union at both the Commission and national government levels for a number of years. Overall, these policies aim to promote the twin goals of competitiveness in international markets and social cohesion within the still-expanding borders of the Union itself. To date, however, the impact of this emphasis on lifelong learning has been relatively slight. This article argues that this is in part because the policy process in relation to the development of a learning society is based on a view of governance and power that is open to reasoned dispute, and is, therefore, bound to disappoint in relation to its espoused goals. It is suggested that, rather than implementation being the main ‘problem' of policy, the policy context inevitably generates many recontextualizations and renegotiations of meanings according to the situations and the actors involved, thereby undermining the notion of 'implementation' as a technical-rational process. It is argued that the complex negotiations enacted at local level reveal and are fashioned by tensions between the membership resources available to actors. This emphasizes complexity, diversity, and difference in policy processes, bringing to the fore a communicative and distributed approach to policy rather than one that is technical and centralizing.
Type: Journal Article
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/8967
DOI Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0268093032000106857
Rights: The publisher does not allow this work to be made publicly available in this Repository. Please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study.
Affiliation: School of Education

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