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Women, Policy and Politics
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Women, Policy and Politics
The Construction of Policy Problems


September 1999 | 256 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
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.

 
Introduction
Taking Problems Apart  
 
PART ONE: WHAT'S THE PROBLEM? AN APPROACH TO POLICY
 
Preamble
 
Policy Studies
Traditional Approaches  
 
Rethinking Policy Studies
 
Rethinking `Social Problems'
 
PART TWO: THE PROBLEM OF WOMEN'S INEQUALITY
 
Preamble
 
Pay Equity
On Whose Terms?  
 
Discrimination
Who Is Responsible?  
 
Education Policy
Access or Transformation?  
 
Child Care Policy
Who Gains?  
 
Abortion
Whose Right?  
 
Domestic Violence
Battered Women or Violent Men?  
 
Sexual Harassment
What Is Sexual about It?  
 
Conclusion
The Politics of Policy Studies  

`This is a profoundly thoughtful book that challenges accepted ways of approaching policy issues. It brings a refreshingly new perspective to some of the key areas that have exercised feminists for several decades' -Jeanne Gregory, Middlesex University

`Not the problem, but the process of problematizing. A simple shift of focus - but it's one of those rare and gifted conceptual reconfigurations that cut like a hot knife through butter. The result is that we come away with some immensely practical policy tools' - Cynthia Cockburn, City University London

`I certainly don't know of any other book that explains the constructionist position so clearly and effectively and the application to gender issues is an additional plus' - Myra Marx Ferree, University of Connecticut

`This book will create worthwhile debate. It offeres an immensly useful approach for students of policy studies. It is provocative for policy makers, who should answer: What's the problem with their social vision?' - Australian Journal of Political Science

`Anyone interested in theoretical developments in policy studies and the sociology of social problems, especially in relation to gender issues, needs to add this to their reading, as should those concerned with different merhods of poilicy analysis.In addition, anyone concerned with any of the policy issues Bacchi has selected for analysis could bebefit from consulting the relevant chapter for the insights offered.' - Political Geography

`This well referenced and thoughtful book will challenge the thinking of all who read it and I expect it will have a profound impact on the reader, and in particular on women in leadership positions' - International Review of Women and Leadership

`The book has lived up to expectations; Bacchi's writing is once again clear and compelling. She achieves a position in which her ability to marshall argument, to ensure that the reader has got the point by careful rehearsal of main themes and the provision of impressive arrays of supporting references, is immediately observable. As a text this book will be of great service to university teachers and supervisors; it embodies its message in that it achievs the initial aim of presenting a particular approach to the study of social policy and it models this approach in applying it to a range of social issues' - Discourse

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