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.

Abortion: Whose Right?
Abortion: Whose right?

I have noted several times in this part of the book that it is important to consider how an issue achieves ‘social problem’ status. This provides the opportunity to reflect upon the fact that an issue can achieve ‘social problem’ status differently in different places, or at different times, or not at all. Discovering this makes it possible to question the taken-for-granted status of some problem representations which are securely anchored in our own time and culture. Recognizing the context-dependent and time-dependent nature of ‘social problems’ creates them as social rather than as natural phenomena. Abortion provides an excellent example for this kind of reflection. As we will be seeing, abortion was not always considered to be a ‘social problem’ ...

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