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Policy as palimpsest

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A palimpsest is a multi-layered text that is reinscribed over time. This article presents policy as analogous to a palimpsest to highlight implementation processes and the complexity of judging progress. Findings from an ethnographic study of the UK Sure Start Children's Centres policy demonstrate how implementation is experienced locally. Here religious beliefs and traditional cultures influence implementation and persistent social structures are in tension with rapid policy shifts or 'initiativitis'. Perceptions of progress depend on how history is interpreted, how policy is framed and how the future is imagined. Unintended consequences are produced as a local policy-palimpsest is enacted.
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Keywords: CHILDCARE; IMPLEMENTATION; POLICY FRAMING; TIME

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 July 2012

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UA-1313315-21
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