chapter  6
Policy artefacts: Discourses, representations and translations
Pages 16

In this chapter, we now want to take a different, but complementary, approach to understanding the processes of enactment that are at work in the contemporary secondary school. So far, we have considered policy enactments as sets of ‘embodied’ practices that are attached to different types and groups of policy actors. We have also written about the ways in which enactments are brought off through sets of technologies that surround some of the current dominant discourses of English schooling: notably standards, assessment and discipline. Let us be clear, these are not discrete processes of enactment; they are interwoven and multi-layered and, in practice, it can be difficult to tease them out as isolated and separate formations. Indeed, to do so may do violence to the act of and the processes of enactment in schools more generally. These dimensions of enactment work together to reconstitute the school, the teacher and the student, as we shall see. In this way, policies ‘organise their own specific rationalities, making particular sets of ideas obvious, common sense and “true’’’ (Ball 2008: 5). The process of producing/making sets of ideas about policies that become part of the ‘taken-for-grantedness’ of the school frequently involves producing representations and translations, simulacrums of primary policy texts. In the processes of policy enactments, school leaders and managers will sometimes consciously attempt to ‘draw attention’ to the substance of policy through the production of visual materials and resources that document/illustrate what has to be done, or what is desirable conduct. These are artefacts that ‘mark’ policy directionality; that circulate and reinforce and represent what is to be done. Sometimes these artefacts come to stand for/represent the subjects of policy – such as the use of (assessment and progression) grids – ‘they can click on a child’ – as discussed in Chapter 4. Policies become represented and translated in and through different sets of artefacts, experiences, material resources and inservice activities; these are the micro-technologies and representations of policy that serve as meaning makers and controls of meanings in the social-material world of the school. These artefacts are cultural productions that carry within them sets of beliefs and meanings that speak to social processes and policy

enactments – ways of being and becoming – that is, forms of governmentality. In his descriptions of the ways in which power becomes manifested at a microlevel, through certain discourses becoming internalised and ‘taken-for-granted’, Foucault argues that the result was a form of non-coercive power that would, in certain circumstances, ensure that individuals would govern themselves. What we want to propose here is that, to some extent – and we will return to this question of extent at the end of this chapter – artefacts and materials become part of the tools and techniques of governmentality in the policy work of the school (Foucault 1991).