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  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: June 2013

3 - Women, Policy and Politics: Recasting policy studies

from Part II - Strategic interventions and exchanges: Reflections and applications of the ‘What's the Problem Represented to be?’ approach


Carol Bacchi's book Women, Policy and Politics: the Construction of Policy Problems, published in 1999, introduced a powerful new approach to the study of policy which resonated with researchers and practitioners in a wide range of fields, in Australia and internationally. In some ways, the book can be seen as having had a ‘matchmaking’ role. It comprehensively introduced post-structuralism and social constructionism to policy studies, but it also introduced feminists to alternative ways of conceptualising policy, policy processes and policy analysis. Both of these meetings have been incredibly fruitful. For feminists undertaking research on gender issues, the book provided new perspectives on key areas of concern such as pay equity, abortion, childcare and domestic violence. Scholarship and practice in each of these areas have benefitted from the insights provided in the book. In this chapter, however, I focus predominantly on the implications for the field of policy studies (including, of course, feminist policy studies), arguing that the framework developed in Women, Policy and Politics, and expanded and refined in later work, significantly recast the field.

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Engaging with Carol Bacchi
  • Online ISBN: 9780987171856
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