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The concept of legitimacy in educational policy-making : alternative explanations of two policy episodes in Hong Kong

Cheng, Kai Ming (1987) The concept of legitimacy in educational policy-making : alternative explanations of two policy episodes in Hong Kong. PhD thesis, Institute of Education, University of London.

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The Thesis seeks to explain the policy-making process using a legitimacy notion as an alternative to various kinds of rational models. Legitimacy here takes its broadest sense as the recognised or accepted norm or belief that something is appropriate. Based on two ethnographic case studies of policy-making "episodes" in Hong Kong education, the writer argues that policy-actors, in this case policy-advisory bodies, do not necessarily act according to a "means-end" rational model, or interact with one another because of conflicts in interests or power; but that each advisory body has developed within itself some sub-culture which identifies certain legitimacy to making policies. In the first Episode, a policy body on higher education was forced to reject an overall policy proposal which was based on manpower forecasting; or else the body's legitimacy generated from "expert judgement" might be undermined. In the second Episode, an OECD panel caused difficulties because it adopted a "participatory approach" which tended to upset the conventional legitimacy in policy-making. Along similar lines, the writer attempts to explain more briefly a number of dramatic junctures during the two Episodes using the legitimacy explanation as a parallel to the rational model of policy-making. The writer infers that conflicts occur when certain actor is forced to submit to a different kind of legitimacy. The actors have to strive hard to maintain their original legitimacy, or else they may lose their status in making policies. In so doing, the subject under attention is less the policy output than the policy process. The issue again is not so much a matter of the power to make policies, but the way policies are to be made. Overall, it is the process, and not the product, of policy-making that legitimates or de-legitimates the actor.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
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Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2014 12:51
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2015 11:26
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