The intellectual landscape of critical policy analysis

Sarah Diem, Michelle D. Young, Anjalé D. Welton, Katherine Cumings Mansfield, Pei Ling Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


What counts as critical policy analysis in education? Over the past 30 years, a tightening of national educational policies can be seen in the USA and across the globe. Over this same period of time, a growing number of educational policy scholars, dissatisfied with traditional frameworks, have used critical frameworks in their analyses. Their critical educational policy work has contributed to a unique intellectual landscape within education: critical policy analysis. This article presents a qualitative exploration of the critical policy analysis approach to educational policy studies. Participants included scholars known to utilize critical theoretical frameworks and methods in their research. Through a historical approach that makes use of oral history interviews with educational policy, we developed an understanding of the critical approach to policy studies, its appeal among critical education policy scholars, and the rationales driving its use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1068-1090
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Critical policy analysis
  • Critical theories
  • Education policy
  • Policy studies
  • Qualitative methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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