Analysing Policy as Discourse: Methodological Advances in Policy Analysis

  • Susan GoodwinEmail author
Part of the Methodos Series book series (METH, volume 9)


New approaches to policy analysis suggest that policy is the result of complex negotiations and contestations that take place to a significant extent within language and discourse/s. This chapter provides an account of the ways in which policy has come to be understood as discourse, and what this means for how (and why) policy is subjected to analysis. The main aim of the chapter is to introduce the ‘What’s the Problem Represented to be?’ framework for analysing policy (Bacchi, C. (2009). Analysing Policy: What’s the problem represented to be). This framework, developed by Carol Bacchi, enables analysts to focus on how problems are represented in policy. The usefulness of Bacchi’s approach is explored through examples of research on policies relating to educational inequalities and indigenous communities. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the role of policy analysis – do we undertake policy analysis in order to solve or address problems or in order to participate in struggles over meaning?


Policy Statement Child Sexual Abuse Education Policy Northern Territory Policy Problem 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Education and Social WorkThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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