Janus in governance: Interpellations around an educational policy of community intervention in Portugal


  • Fátima Antunes Universidade do Minho/University of Minho http://orcid.org/0000-0001-9045-7757
  • Rosanna Barros Universidade do Algarve – Estrada da Penha /University of Algarve, Penha Campus




Portugal, educational governance, State, partnership, public policies, non-formal education


This article intends to empirically document the ambiguity, even ambivalence, of governance practices[1], through the study of a public policy in Portugal, the Programme InovAction, that stimulates intervention projects in ‘local state of emergency’ territories. In this way, we search to contribute to the debate around the reform of the State and public policies, apprehended through metamorphoses in the coordination of collective action in education. Education, State and governance are viewed as social relationships and sites of social practices; governance is understood as a field in which policies, discourses and practices manifest themselves in neo-liberal hegemonic versions or according to contradictory achievements. The data we mobilize were built on documental analysis and on information obtained through semi-structured interviews (to national, regional and local projects Coordinators, technicians and young people). The unfolding discussion illuminates tensions and contradictions in governance practices of Programme InovAction: the strengthening of collective action may occur simultaneously with the construction of routes and alternative spaces of social exclusion; the reduction of the social responsibility of the school with regards to certain audiences challenges approaches to the construction of a public space of education; the privilege given to known interests has gone side by side with practices to broaden  the local governance circle.


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Author Biographies

Fátima Antunes, Universidade do Minho/University of Minho

Fátima Antunes is a researcher at the Center of Research in Education (CIEd) and Associate Professor of the Department of Social Sciences of Education at the Institute of Education of the University of Minho (Portugal). Research interests include: socio-educational practices overcoming school failure and early leaving; diversities, education policies and students’ pathways; education policies, globalization and the European Union; lifelong and adult education and publishes regularly in European and Lusophone journals and books.

Rosanna Barros, Universidade do Algarve – Estrada da Penha /University of Algarve, Penha Campus

Rosanna Barros has a PhD in Education by the University of Minho and is Adjunct Professor at the University of Algarve. She is associate convenor of the Research Network on Policy Studies in Adult Education of ESREA (https://www.esrea.org/networks/policy-studies-in-adult-education/), since 2017 and is presently running different research projects with either national or international funding. She is a member of the Scientific and Editorial Board of different periodicals, both at national and international levels. She has published books, chapters and articles in the following areas: Critical Sociology of Education, Education-Social Pedagogy and Public Policies in the Education of Adults and Elderly People.




How to Cite

Antunes, F., & Barros, R. (2019). Janus in governance: Interpellations around an educational policy of community intervention in Portugal. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 27, 27. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.27.2967



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