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.

Education Policy: Access or Transformation?
Education policy: Access or transformation?

Policy debates in the area of education provide useful examples of the nesting of problem representations mentioned in the Introduction. For example, competing approaches to reform in the area of girls and education are grounded in different views of both the ‘problem’ of ‘women's inequality’ and of the nature of education more generally. Even when there is agreement about either of these issues, disagreements surface over possible causes and meanings of girls' unequal education, and hence over desirable ‘solutions’. Applying What's the Problem (represented to be)? to education policy allows us to probe all these levels of problem representation. The point is to recognize that expressed views on what is desirable for girls often will and ...

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