This book offers a powerful new approach to policy studies. Drawing on recent perspectives from social constructionism, discourse analysis, the sociology of social problems and feminism, Carol Bacchi develops a step-by-step analytical tool for deconstructing policy problems. Her `What's the Problem?' approach encourages students to reflect critically upon the ways in which policy problems get constructed within policy debates and policy proposals.
Policy Studies: Traditional Approaches
There are a number of ways to organize and label approaches to the study of policy. Janice Dudley and Lesley Vidovich (1995: 16–18) offer a useful categorization for my purposes. They place contemporary policy studies in three categories: (1) the rational comprehensive model, (2) politically rational models of policy making and (3) public choice models of policy making. They describe the rational comprehensive view as a ‘model of decision making [which] sees policy principally as a process of problem solving. The fundamental assumption of the model is that there is a best collective decision, the public interest, that can be rationally and analytically determined if the correct neutral procedure is followed.’ In contrast, politically rational models stress ‘the ...