Making and Unmaking “problems”

  • Carol Bacchi
  • Susan Goodwin


This chapter pursues a central task in the book, explaining what is accomplished by focusing on how policies produce or constitute “problems”. To begin, it canvasses how “problems” are conceptualized in classic rationalist, and in more recent interpretive and critical realist approaches to policy analysis, and indicates the possible deleterious implications of assuming the existence of problems as objective and uncontroversial states. Second, the chapter draws on WPR applications in two policy areas—alcohol and drugs policy and gender equality policy—to show how the interrogation of problematizations provides important insights into how governing takes place. In this way it illustrates the distinctive contribution of a poststructural questioning of “problems”.


“social problems” “wicked problems” rationalism framing “gender equality” “alcohol problems” 


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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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