Partnership as Educational Policy Imperative: An unquestioned good?
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“Partnership” is often promoted as an unquestioned “good” for higher education institutions in relation to its various stakeholder organizations. This paper seeks to problematize this uncritical valorization through a critical interrogation of the concepts and socio-material practices associated with partnership. In the name of partnership, new forms of governance are inaugurated that have far-reaching effects. More specifically, this paper is concerned with a critical analysis of partnership in relation to a longitudinal study of the relational practices between a university and five local authorities within a Scottish educational context. In particular, we trace how a “signature event” transformed a partnership assemblage, from one characterized by a grammar of participation, to a formal partnership aligned with a set of principles that we characterize as a grammar of representation. We argue that this transition led to a new assemblage that enacted new accountabilities, performativities, and alignments under the sign of partnership.