How the social issue is constructed as a public policy problem?


The commentary should critically examine the public policy response, using Bacchi’s


How the social issue is constructed as a public policy problem?

What presuppositions or assumptions underlie this representation of the problem?

What effects are or might be produced by this representation of the problem?

What is left unproblematic in this representation?

Can the problem be thought about differently?

How could it be questioned, disrupted and replaced?

You don’t need to rigidly follow Bacchi’s questions in this order – but these questions will help you to structure your policy commentary but remember that you need to create a coherent structure and a narrative flow throughout.

Choose a specific policy document (e.g., white paper, policy brief, parliamentary act, government reports, policy statements, parliamentary speeches). Policy documents can be at local, national, international level; and produced by different subjects (e.g.,governments, local authorities,organisations, international bodies) Critically analyse, not just describe. Include a critical focus on context; give sufficient background information; connect to broader contexts; examine the construction of policies and how they represent and ‘make up’ people.

Examine the language and ‘discourse’ used in the document; draw on excerpts from the policy document to explain how social issues are represented and addressed.

It is a good idea to select a document related to a policy issue that has been written about in academic journals (e.g. perhaps there are published evaluations or critiques of the policy) and/or one policy that has been evaluated.