Making Politics Visible: The WPR Approach

  • Carol Bacchi
  • Susan Goodwin


This chapter offers an analytic strategy, or “tool”, called “What’s the Problem Represented to be?” (the WPR approach), to facilitate poststructural policy analysis. It elaborates a poststructural understanding of politics as strategic relations and practices, and of theorizing as political practice. The WPR approach is introduced as a means to engage in such theorizing and to assist in the analytic task of making politics visible. To this end it offers seven interrelated forms of questioning and analysis to critically scrutinize problematizations (the ways in which “problems” are produced and represented) in governmental policies and practices, understood in broad terms. Policy workers and other analysts are enjoined to deploy WPR in practices of interrogating problematizations, reproblematization, and self-problematization.


politics essentialism becoming contestation critique silences “the real” problem representation WPR approach 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carol Bacchi
    • 1
  • Susan Goodwin
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PoliticsUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of Education and Social WorkUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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