Making and Unmaking “subjects”

  • Carol Bacchi
  • Susan Goodwin


This chapter draws on applications of the WPR approach to illustrate the usefulness of reflecting on how policies produce “subjects” through problematization. The argument is made that it is both relevant and important, in terms of policy development, to reflect on the ways in which policies constitute “subjects” as particular kinds of subjects, with possible impact on people’s sense of self and behaviors. The chapter shows that, through identifying the “people categories” and the subject positions available in policies, it becomes possible to consider how “subjects” are governed through subjectification effects. Such a form of analysis directs attention to the dividing practices often generated in policies. Further, it shows how specific problem representations produce targeted groups as responsible for an assumed “problem”, creating stigma and silencing the operation of other factors.


subjectification subject position dividing practices stigmatization governable subjects 


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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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