Policy Networks, Philanthropy, and Education Governance in Portugal: The Raise of Intermediary Actors

Sofia Viseu, Luís Miguel Carvalho


This article focuses on an emerging phenomenon in Portugal: the most visible and frequent presence of new collective actors in public policy processes. Often linked to philanthropic foundations, these actors call themselves to influence the educational agenda, and even the educational practices, and are highly dependent on expert knowledge. They are intermediary actors who perform cognitive and social operations that connect ideas, individuals and technical devices involved in policy processes. The article analyses the emergence of these intermediary actors and their attempts to influence and reshape the governance of education, through new political networks. Based on earlier empirical-based research inspired by network ethnography, and grounded on the political sociology of public action, the article presents a proposal for mapping these emerging intermediary actors, according to a) the spaces of collective action they use/create; b) their targets; c) their autonomy in the production of expert knowledge for policy. And depicts two trends related to their agency: the use of a more cognitive (rather than normative) regulation, more intensive and knowledge-based, converging to a new interactive and intuitive ways of knowledge dissemination; an increasingly intertwined regulation, involving several different social worlds, promoting and establishing new policy networks and the spread of the new philanthropy reasoning.

Palabras clave

policy networks; education governance; intermediary actors; philanthropy

Texto completo:

PDF (English)


Allen, K., & Bull, A. (2018). Following Policy: A Network Ethnography of the UK Character Education Policy Community. Sociological Research Online, 23(2), 438-458. doi.org/10.1177/1360780418769678

Alves, N., & Canário, R. (2002). The new magistracy of influence: changing governance of education in Portugal. European Educational Research Journal, 1(4), 656-666. doi/10.2304/eerj.2002.1.4.4

aQeduto (2017). Apresentação [Presentation]. Retrieved from (September 5, 2017): http://www.aqeduto.pt/apresentacao/

Au, W., & Ferrare, J.J. (Eds.). (2015). Mapping corporate education reform: Power and policy networks in the neoliberal state. New York: Routledge.

Avelar, M., & Ball, S.J. (2019). Mapping new philanthropy and the heterarchical state: The Mobilization for the National Learning Standards in Brazil. International Journal of Educational Development, 64, 65-73. doi.org/10.1016/j.ijedudev.2017.09.007

Avelar, M., Nikita, D.P., & Ball, S.J. (2018). Education policy networks and spaces of ‘meetingness’: A network ethnography of a Brazilian seminar. In Verger, A., Novelli, M., & Altinyelken, H. (Eds.), Global education policy and international development: New agendas, issues and policies (pp. 55-74). London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Ball, S., & Junemann, C. (2011). Education Policy and Philanthropy—The Changing Landscape of English Educational Governance. International Journal of Public Administration, 34(10), 646-661. doi: 10.1080/01900692.2011.583773

Ball, S. (2008). New philanthropy, new networks and new governance in education. Political studies, 56(4), 747-765.

Ball, S. (2012). Global Education Inc.: New policy networks and the neoliberal imaginary. New York: Routledge.

Ball, S. (2016). Following policy: networks, network ethnography and education policy mobilities. Journal of Education Policy, 31(5), 549-566. doi.org/10.1080/02680939.2015.1122232

Ball, S., & Olmedo, A. (2011). Global social capitalism: Using enterprise to solve the problems of the world. Citizenship, Social and Economics Education, 10(2-3), 83-90.

Ball, S., & Olmedo, A. (2013). A ‘nova’filantropia, o capitalismo social e as redes de políticas globais em educação. In Peroni, V. (Ed), Redefinições das fronteiras entre o público e o privado: implicações para a democratização da Educação (pp. 13-47). Brasília: Liber Livro, 33-47.

Barroso, J. (2018). A transversalidade das regulações em educação. Modelo de análise para o estudo das políticas educativas em Portugal. Educação & Sociedade 39 (145), 1075-1097.

Barroso, J. (2003). Organização e regulação dos ensinos básicos e secundário, em Portugal: sentidos de uma evolução. Educação & Sociedade, 24(82), 63-92.

Barroso, J. (Org.). (2006). A Regulação das Políticas Públicas de Educação. Espaços, Dinâmicas e Actores. Lisboa: EDUCA.

Barroso, J., Carvalho, L.M., Fontoura, M., & Afonso, N. (2007). Educational Policies as an object of study and training in Educational Administration. Sísifo. Revista de Ciências da Educação, 4, 5‑20.

Blach-Ørsten, M., & Kristensen, N N. (2016). Think tanks in Denmark-Media visibility and network relations. Politik, 19(1), 22-42.

Carvalho, L.M. (2006). Apontamentos sobre as relações entre conhecimento e política educativa. Revista do Fórum Português de Administração Educacional, 6, p. 37-45.

Carvalho, L.M. (2015). As políticas públicas de Educação sob o prisma da ação pública: esboço de uma perspectiva de análise e inventário de estudos. Currículo sem fronteiras, 15(2), 314-333.

Carvalho, L.M. (2019). Dividido: uma reflexão a partir da análise de teses de doutoramento em Ciências da Educação. In Antunes, M., Medina, T., Caramelo, J., Magalhães, A., & Ferreira, M. (Org.), Ciências da Educação em Portugal: Saberes, Contextos de Intervenção e Profissionalidades (pp. 45-59). Porto: Faculdade de Psicologia e de Ciências da Educação da Universidade do Porto.

Carvalho, L.M., Viseu, S., & Gonçalves, C. (2018). Novos atores intermediários na regulação da educação em Portugal. Revista da FAEEBA-Educação e Contemporaneidade, 27(53), p. 30-42. doi.org/10.21879/faeeba2358-0194.2018.v27.n53.p30-42

Carvalho, L.M., Viseu, S., & Gonçalves, C. (2019). Bridging worlds and spreading light: Intermediary actors and the translation of knowledge for policy in Portugal. In Pettersson, D., & Mølstad, C. (Eds.), Numbers and Knowledge in Education: New Practices of Comparison, Quantification and Expertise (pp. 111-126). New York: Routledge.

Carvalho, L.M., Costa, E., & Sant’Ovaia, C. (2020). Depicting the faces of results-oriented regulatory processes in Portugal: National testing in policy texts. European Journal of Educational Research, 19(2), 125-141.

Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2013). Research methods in education. New York: Routledge.

Cooper, A., & Shewchuk, S. (2015). Knowledge Brokers in Education: How Intermediary Organizations Are Bridging the Gap between Research, Policy and Practice Internationally. Education policy analysis archives, 23(1), 1-8. doi.org/10.14507/epaa.v23.2355

Delvaux, B. (2009). Qual é o papel do conhecimento na acção pública?. Educação & Sociedade, 30(109), 959-985. doi.org/10.1590/S0101-73302009000400003.

Educação em Exame [Education under examination] (2017). Sobre o Projeto [About the project]. Retrieved from (September 20, 2017): https://educacaoemexame.pt/

EDULOG (2017). EDULOG - Think Tank da Educação [Think Tank for Education]. Retrieved from (December 19, 2017): https://www.edulog.pt/

Exley, S. (2014). Think tanks and policy networks in English education. In Hill, M. (Ed.), Studying public policy: An international approach (pp. 179-190). Bristol: Policy Press.

FFMS. (2019). Sobre a Fundação [About the Foundation]. Retrieved from (September 5, 2017): https://www.ffms.pt/sobre-a-fundacao

Grek, S., & Lawn, M. (2009). A short history of Europeanizing education: the new political work of calculating the future. European Education, 41(1), 32-54.

Hogan, A. (2016). # tellPearson: the activist ‘public education’ network. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 39(3), 377-392. doi: 10.1080/01596306.2016.1269225

Hogan, A., Sellar, S., & Lingard, B. (2015). Network restructuring of global edu-business. In Au, W., & Ferrare, J.J. (Eds.), Mapping corporate education reform. Power and policy networks in the neoliberal state (pp. 43-64). New York: Routledge.

Iniciativa Educação (2020). Quem somos [Who we are]. Retrieved from (December 5, 2019): https://www.iniciativaeducacao.org/pt/quem-somos

Jenkins-Smith, H., & Sabatier, P. (1993). The study of public policy processes. In Sabatier, P., & Jenkins- Smith, H. (Eds.), Policy change and learning: An advocacy coalition approach (pp. 1-9). Boulder: Westview Press.

Jobert, B., & Muller, P. (1987). L’état en action. Paris: PUF.

Kauko, J., Suominen, O., Gorodski, V., Centeno, Piattoeva, N., & Takala, T. (2018). Established and emerging actors in the national political arenas. In Kauko, J., Rinne, R., & Takala, T. (Eds.), Politics of quality in education (pp. 71-90). New York: Routledge.

Laborier, P., & Trom, D. (Dir.) (2003). Historicités de l’action publique. Paris: PUF.

Lascoumes, P., & Le Galès, P. (2007). Sociologie de l’action publique. Paris: Armand Colin.

Lawn, M., & Normand, R. (2014). Introduction. In M. Lawn, M., & Normand, R. (Eds.), Shaping of European Education: Interdisciplinary approaches (pp. 1-12). London: Routledge.

Lawn, M. (2006). Soft governance and the learning spaces of Europe. Comparative European Politics, 4(2-3), 272-288. doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.cep.6110081

Lawn, M., & Lingard, B. (2002). Constructing a European Policy Space in Educational Governance: The Role of Transnational Policy Actors. European Educational Research Journal, 1(2), 290-307. doi.org/10.2304/eerj.2002.1.2.6

Levin, B., & Cooper, A. (2012). Theory, research and practice in mobilizing research knowledge in education. In Fenwick, T., & Farrell, L. (Eds.), Knowledge Mobilization and Educational Research (pp. 17-29). London: Routledge.

Lingard, B. (2016). Think Tanks,‘policy experts’ and ‘ideas for’ education policy making in Australia. The Australian Educational Researcher, 43(1), 15-33. doi.org/10.1007/s13384-015-0193-0

Lubienski, C., Scott, J., & DeBray, E. (2011). The rise of intermediary organizations in knowledge production, advocacy, and educational policy. Teachers College Record, 22(1), 1-3.

Maroy, C. (2012). Towards post-bureaucratic modes of governance: A European perspective. In Waldow, F., & Steiner-Khamsi, G. (Eds.), Policy borrowing and lending in education (pp. 62-79). London: Routledge.

Maroy, C., & Dupriez, V. (2000). La régulation dans les systèmes scolaires: proposition théorique et analyse du cadre structurel en Belgique francophone. Revue Française de Pédagogie, 130, 73-87.

Massardier, G. (2003). Politiques et action publiques. Paris: Armand Colin.

McGoey, L. (2012). Philanthrocapitalism and its critics. Poetics, 40(2), 185-199.

Nay, O., & Smith, A. (2002). Les intermédiaries en politique: mediation et jeux d’instituitions. In Nay, O., & Smith, A. (Dir.), Le gouvernement du compromise: Courtiers et generalistes dans l’action politique (pp. 1-21). Paris: Economica.

netFWD (2019). Global Network of Foundations Working for Development. Retrieved from:

Nóvoa, A., Carvalho, L.M., & Yanes, C. (2014). Comparison as politics: The turning point of the early 21th century. Swiss Journal of Educational Research, 36(2), 265-282.

Nóvoa, A. (2010) Governing without governing: the formation of a European educational space. In Apple, M.W., Ball, S.J., & L.A. Gandin, L.A. (Eds.), The Routledge International Handbook of the Sociology of Education (pp. 264-273). Oxon: Routledge.

Olmedo, A. (2017). Something old, not much new, and a lot borrowed: philanthropy, business, and the changing roles of government in global education policy networks. Oxford Review of Education, 43(1), 69-87. doi.org/10.1080/03054985.2016.1259104

Olmedo, A., & Grau, E S.C. (2013). Neoliberalism, policy advocacy networks and think tanks in the Spanish educational arena: The case of FAES. Education Inquiry, 4(3), 473- 496.

Ozga, J. (2008). Governing knowledge: Research steering and research quality. European Educational Research Journal, 7(3), 261-272. doi.org/10.2304/eerj.2008.7.3.261

Pettersson, D., & Popkewitz, T.S. (2019). A chimera of quantifications and comparisons: The changing of educational ‘expertise’. In Pettersson, D., & Mølstad, C. (Eds.), Numbers and Knowledge in Education: New Practices of Comparison, Quantification and Expertise (pp. 18-36). New York: Routledge.

Reckhow, S., & Snyder, J.W. (2014). The expanding role of philanthropy in education politics. Educational Researcher, 43(4), 186-195. doi.org/10.3102/0013189X14536607

Reckhow, S., & Tompkins-Stange, M. (2018). Financing the education policy discourse: philanthropic funders as entrepreneurs in policy networks. Interest Groups & Advocacy, 7(3), 258-288. doi.org/10.1057/s41309-018-0043-3

Rhodes, R. (2006). Policy Network Analysis. In Moran, M., Rein, M., & Goodin, R.E. (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Public Policy (pp. 423-45). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rizvi, F., & Lingard, B. (2009). Globalizing education policy. New York: Routledge.

Robertson, S.L., & Verger, A. (2012). Governing education through public private partnerships. In Robertson, S.L., Mundy, K., Verger, A., & Menashy, F. (Eds.), Public private partnerships in Education: New Actors and Modes of Governance in a Globalizing (pp. 21-42). United States of America: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Saura, G. (2018). Saving the world through neoliberalism: philanthropic policy networks in the context of Spanish education, Critical Studies in Education, 59(3), 279-296. doi: 10.1080/17508487.2016.1194302

Savage, G. (2016). Think tanks, education and elite policy actors. The Australian Educational Researcher, 43(1), 35-53. doi: 10.1007/s13384-015-0185-0

Schmidt, V. (2010). Taking ideas and discourse seriously: Explaining change through discursive institutionalism as the fourth ‘new institutionalism’. European Political Science Review, 2(1), 1-25. doi: 10.1017/S175577390999021X

Sperka, L., & Enright, E. (2017). Network ethnography applied: understanding the evolving health and physical education knowledge landscape. Sport, Education and Society, 24(2), 168-181. doi: 10.1080/13573322.2017.1338564

Stone, D., & Moran, M. (2016). Emerging Powers in International Development: The New Philanthropy. In Grugel, J., & Hammett, D. (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of International Development (pp. 297-313). London: Palgrave MacMillan.

Sultana, R. (2011). On being a boundary person’: mediating between the local and the global in career guidance policy learning. Globalisation, societies and education, 9(2), 265-283. doi.org/10.1080/14767724.2011.577326

Teach for Portugal (2020). O que é a Teach For Portugal?[What’s Teach For Portugal?]. Retrieved from (December 5, 2019): https://www.teachforportugal.org/index.html

Thatcher, M. (1998). The development of policy analysis. From modest origins to overarching frameworks. Journal of Theoretical Politics, 10(4), 389-416.

Thatcher, M. (2004), Réseau (policy network). In Boussaguet, L., Jacquot, S., & Ravinet, P. (Eds.), Dictionnaire des politiques publiques (pp. 384-390). Paris: Sciences-Po Les Presses.

Thompson, G., Savage, G.C., & Lingard, B. (2016). Introduction: Think tanks, edu-businesses and education policy: Issues of evidence, expertise and influence. Australian Educational Researcher, 43(1), 1-13. doi.org/10.1007/s13384-015-0195-y

Verger, A., Lubienski, C., & Steiner-Khamsi, G. (Eds.). (2016). World yearbook of education 2016: The global education industry. New York: Routledge.

Viseu, S., & Carvalho, L.M. (2020). Contributos da análise de redes para o estudo de redes políticas em educação. In Fialho, J. (Org), Redes Sociais. Como compreendê-las? Uma introdução à análise de redes sociais (pp. 257-268). Lisboa: Edições Sílabo.

Viseu, S., & Carvalho, L.M. (2018). Think tanks, policy networks and education governance: the rising of new intra-national spaces of policy in Portugal. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 26(108), 1-25. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.14507/epaa.26.3664

Williamson, B. (2015). Digital education governance: data visualization, predictive analytics, and ‘real-time’ policy instruments. Journal of Education Policy, 31(2), 123-141. doi.org/10.1080/02680939.2015.1035758

DOI: https://doi.org/10.14516/fde.818

Enlaces refback

  • No hay ningún enlace refback.

e-ISSN: 1698-7802

DOI prefix: 10.14516/fde

URL: www.forodeeducacion.com

FahrenHouse: Salamanca, España 

Licencia de Creative Commons
Este obra está bajo una licencia de Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial 3.0 España.