Seminar - ‘Politics, Policy, and Normative State Culture: Texas Trafficking Policy and Education as a Medium for Social Change’

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College of Law and Criminology and Swansea Texas Strategic Partnership Research Seminar

Speaker: Dr Melinda Lemke, Visiting Scholar from University of Texas at Austin

Seminar: ‘Politics, Policy, and Normative State Culture: Texas Trafficking Policy and Education as a Medium for Social Change’

Date: Monday 7th September 2015

Time: 1pm - 2pm

Venue: G37, Richard Price Building

All welcome. 

Education providers are on the “front line” of youth trafficking prevention.

Texas State legislation passed in 2013 required the Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force, through an Education Workgroup, to create an educator curriculum on human trafficking to assist with state-wide efforts. This was a landmark reform because of the paucity of state-level policy efforts and educational policy research on this issue. 

Utilising multifocal theory and a feminist critical policy analysis approach, Dr Lemke’s study examined the organisational, political, and normative dynamics that contributed to the enactment of this law. 

Findings included: 1) consensus about the importance of the public education sector in multi-sector efforts; 2) the legislature’s and the Workgroup’s knowledge differed about trafficking policy and dynamics; 3) despite the appearance of bipartisan support and an inclusive implementation process, slippage was identified at both legislative and Workgroup levels; and 4) multiple normative dynamics were identified as roadblocks to effective implementation.

This study provides a rich and detailed resource for public policy and leadership scholars who have yet to consider youth trafficking as an important research topic.  Study findings also have several implications for research and policy, for educators and stakeholders focused on victim advocacy, and for analysis of the ‘implementation gap’ between public policy intention and outcomes in practice.  

Dr Lemke’s research and teaching emphasises an interdisciplinary approach that considers how inter-professionals, local organisations, and public entities interact within complex policy environments to affect youth educational experience.

She also studies how educational policies, institutions, and actors are attentive to US and global justice issues such as youth commercial exploitation and gender-based violence. 

Her research interests include: multisector collaboration, curriculum policy and normative culture, privatisation, human rights education, politics of education and research use, and qualitative methodology.  Her work appears in book chapters, reference books, policy briefs, state curriculum publications, and journal outlets. 

She is founding and former Managing Editor of the Texas Education Review, an open access, graduate student policy journal at UT Austin and recipient of the UT Graduate Student Named Continuing Fellowship, which funded her doctoral research. 

Prior to completing her PhD, she had a career in US urban public education and administrative curriculum development.  She has a BSED in Secondary Education, BA in History, and Minor in Law from Bucknell University. 

Her MEd in Curriculum and Instruction was acquired through a James Madison Memorial Foundation Fellowship at UT Austin.

Enquiries to: Lowri Davies, email: