Analyzing (and comparing) policy mobilities in federal education systems: Potentials of a topological lens
Keywords:topology, policy analysis, digitization, federal systems, Germany, COVID-19
This contribution takes up and discusses topology as a relational approach to better understand and empirically trace policy mobilities in federal education systems. While topology echoes other relational approaches in its simultaneous focus on ongoing change and the “making” of stabilized forms (e.g., policy scales), it also brings attention to facets of policy mobility research that other approaches have, at least so far, considered to a much lesser extent. Such facets include the systematic integration of a temporal dimension (e.g., rhythms of scale- or policy-making) as well as the consideration of digital/data space-times. Equally, topology reminds us that policy itself is increasingly becoming topological—that is to say, policy-making is increasingly ruled by movement spaces, logics of connectedness, and capacities for change, instead of formal authority, position, or transmission. Integrating these different dimensions into a heuristic framework, we illuminate what we see differently when applying a topological lens to policy mobility analysis in federal education systems, using the example of German education policies since the 2000s, particularly transformations induced by the ongoing pandemic, as a case study.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Sigrid Hartong, Christopher Urbas
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