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.

Child Care Policy: Who Gains?
Child care policy: Who gains?

A What's the Problem? approach recommends examining policy proposals, including policy instruments, as a way to uncover problem representations. Currently, the central debates about child care concern how the service is to be provided and paid for. Proposals often intersect with general debates about funding of public services, and the place of ‘private’ enterprise in providing public services. Within these proposals, at least three problem representations emerge: first, child care as necessary to facilitate women's workforce participation; second, child care as welfare; and third, child care as early childhood education. Some things can usefully be said, as we will see, about each of these representations separately. But more useful is to examine the ways in which ...

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