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This paper draws on theoretical insights from Michel de Certeau to formulate a response to questions of whether, and in what ways, poststructural policy analysis can ‘transcend critique to offer potential grounds for alternative social and political strategies in education’. The paper offers a discussion of how Certeau’s concern with how policies ‘work on’ everyday cultures and everyday cultures ‘work on’ policies, might speak to education policy analysts in useful ways. Taking the case of parent–school engagement in education policy as an example, I explore how Certeau’s commitment to policy work founded on an ethical demand for heterogeneity and a recognition of complicity offers fertile ground for understanding, unsettling and potentially remaking policy agendas, their enactments and lived effects. I argue that in order to move beyond critique we must first accept a position within its gaze, and to ask how policy might be put to use as a means of recognizing rather than regulating the subjects, practices and relations of culture.

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Journal Article

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