The Education Policy Knowledgeable Polity (EPKP) project: a contribution to critical education policy scholarship.

Student thesis: Doctor of Science


The Education Policy Knowledgeable Polity (EPKP) project addresses the question: what is the relationship between the state, public policy and knowledge? The thesis summary statement together with 16 research outputs presents an overview of forty years of research interrogating this core question. In the first part of the summary statement, the EPKP project as a substantial and innovative contribution is explained in full, and in the second part, the significance for critical education policy scholarship is presented. The EPKP project is located in political sociology whereby the focus is on knowledge production as a governing strategy at a time of complex depoliticization and privatization processes. The case is made for the examination of how and why policy actors (e.g. ministers, civil servants, researchers, consultants, professionals), who are located in different vantage points, develop and enact standpoints, and exchange knowledge in regimes of practice where ideas, data, and reputations are staked. Such claims give prime attention to forms of knowledge, ways of knowing and displays of knowledgeability that both shape and are an outcome of governing by knowledge production. This programme of research makes two main contributions to ongoing debates in the field of critical education policy scholarship: first, it makes a significant, critical and original contribution to the field’s empirical and conceptual resources; and second it breaks new ground through the development of the concept of the knowledgeable polity as an arena where actors take up positions in regimes in relation to standpoints regarding options and strategies. Notably the study makes the case for political sociology, particularly by examining the prime role of the state and sovereignty. The impact of the EPKP project is examined, and an agenda for ongoing research is presented.
Date of Award31 Dec 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester


  • Education policy
  • Knowledgeable Polity
  • Political Sociology
  • Governing Strategy
  • Regimes of Practice

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