Since 2000 the concept of Europeanization has gained importance as a way of conceptualizing the changes in education and training policy in the European Union. Not least the introduction of the Open Method of Coordination in education and training has launched important policy processes through which the usual distinctions between policy-making, policy decision and policy implementation are changing. Policy pathways have become unpredictable as ‘transnational flows and networks of people, ideas and practices across European borders’ (Lawn & Grek, 2012, p. 8) have intensified and drawn together actors from different sites to make a ‘European Area of Lifelong Learning a Reality’ (EU Commission, 2001). The changes challenge policy research and its traditional analytical units of the nation-state and the EU as a supranational organization. As stated in the introduction of the book, decision-making processes now involve actors drawn from across governments and agencies and public and private institutions at multiple levels. In this landscape characterized by fluidity and uncertainties of boundaries there is a need to challenge methodological nationalism (see Engel, 2012) and to connect the various actors within the new structures of a European education space. The aim of this chapter is to offer a tentative proposal on how to study the unpredictable pathways of EU LLL policy. The methodology of policy trailing and the use of the mixed methods of discourse analysis and narrative inquiry are proposed as a means of overcoming methodological nationalism and connecting structure and agency in the study of the European education space.
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Adult Education Policy and the European Union: Theoretical and Methodological Issues, 2014, p. 127-140
policy analysis; discourse analysis; narrative research; EU policy making; Europeanisation; lifelong learning; adult education; the open method of coordination; governmentality; Uddannelsespolitik; Internationalisering/globalisering; Livslang læring