chapter  5
25 Pages

POLICY GAMES

Amid organizational restructuring in public institutions, policymaking processes are becoming increasingly codified, restricted, and obscured. Especially regarding technology policy, the coils of which stretch across all domains of public education, individuals who fashion themselves as technical experts are absorbing control over many of the decisions about infrastructure design and — by extension — the attendant social relations that infrastructures govern. This chapter shows that centralized streamlining of technology specifications places undue constraints on design possibilities and that these constraints are proportional to the restriction of participation in policy processes. Policy design, in other words, embeds the values of its process into its outcomes, delimiting the range of future policies at the same time. Furthermore, nondemocratic processes tend to yield not only constricted policy outcomes but also material outcomes of limited utility and structural flexibility.