Policy analysis has always attended to the role of elite actors, but much less often has the policy activity of 'street level' actors been attended to. The 'implementation' paradigm has tended to caricature the level of practice in terms of 'resistors' or policy failure, and ignored the demanding, creative and complex processes of enacting policy. The move from policy texts to policy in action involves sophisticated processes of interpretation and translation, as well as, at times, opposition, subversion and strategic compliance. The chapters in this book, in different ways, seek to get inside the policy process to understand what policy actors really do - how they manage impossible and multiple policy expectations, how they attempt to do policy with limited resources in conditions often unimagined by those who write policy, and how they translate abstract policy formulations into things that are doable, immediate and relevant. The collection re-writes the policy process and offers new ways of researching policy and policy outcomes. This book was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Education Policy.
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