National reform programs in local practices

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National reform programs in local practices

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Title: National reform programs in local practices
Using discourse as a strategic resource
Author: Hjelholt, Morten; Blegind Jensen, Tina
Abstract: This paper investigates how discourse can be mobilized as a strategic resource when introducing a public sector reform program in a local government setting. We explore how actual day-to-day practices, contexts, and processes relate to the shaping and localizing of broad strategic discourses. In particular, we emphasize the practices in which national strategic formulations are legitimized and accepted or abandoned by the actors involved. Building on a case study conducted over a two-year time span, we show how a local actor engages with and promotes a national reform program by evoking a discourse with strategic intentions. First we present how the national reform program is translated into a local government by the evoking of historically produced and context dependent discourses. Next we show that locally produced discourses need to be evoked and re-attached to the national reform program in order to enable new local practices. Our study shows that formal reform programs and strategies are never stable and firm objects; rather, they are constantly enacted and changed as part of discursive practices. Thus individuals enter a discursive space from where to engage strategically with the creation of new local practices.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10398/8726
Date: 2013-06-20
Notes: Paper presented at The 28th EGOS Colloquium: Design!? jul. 05-07 2012. Helsinki, Finland

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