Carol Bacchi

Carol Bacchi
University of Adelaide · Department of Politics and International Studies

PhD

About

100
Publications
52,250
Reads
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6,192
Citations
Introduction
For an introduction and video workshop introducing the 'What's the Problem Represented to be?' (WPR) approach to policy analysis, go to this link http://bit.ly/bacchi_wpr The WPR approach offers an analytic strategy for interrogating how 'problems' are represented in policies. The following website is designed to assist in the application of WPR and to provide comments on related theoretical issues. Go to: carolbacchi.com
Additional affiliations
January 2010 - January 2020
University of Adelaide
Position
  • Professor Emeritus

Publications

Publications (100)
Book
This book brings a theoretical lens to the debates around affirmative action. It presents a comparative analysis of those countries reputed to be leading the way in policies for women - the United States, Canada, Australia, Sweden, the Netherlands and Norway. Taking account of the particular historical context of affirmative action policies, she co...
Book
Full-text available
This book offers an innovative rethinking of policy approaches to 'gender equality' and of the process of social change. It brings several new chapters together with a series of previously published articles to reflect on these topics. A particular focus is gender mainstreaming, a relatively recent development in equality policy in many industriali...
Book
This book offers a novel approach to thinking about public policy and a new, distinctive methodology for analysing policy. It introduces a set of six questions that probe how 'problems' are represented in policies, followed by an undertaking to apply the questions to one's own policy proposals. This form of analysis, it suggests, is crucial to unde...
Book
This book introduces an approach to policy analysis called 'what's the problem represented to be?' It argues that policies contain implicit representations of the 'problems' they purport to address and that these 'problem representations' need to be subjected to critical scrutiny. The book targets the way in which 'women's inequality' is represente...
Article
Full-text available
This article scrutinizes critically a pervasive knowledge shaping contemporary sociopolitical relations and spaces—“problem-solving knowledge”. It devel- ops the argument that, as a governing knowledge, “problem-solving” is in- creasing in intensity and scope, with a range of negative and potentially dan- gerous effects. As a case study, the articl...
Article
Full-text available
There is strong, and growing, evidence documenting health inequities across the world. However, most governments do not prioritize policies to encourage action on the social determinants of health and health equity. Furthermore, despite evidence concerning the benefits of joined-up, intersectoral policy to promote health and health equity, it is ra...
Article
This article puts in question the usefulness of the concept of “problem” or “problems” in alcohol and drug research and theory. A focus on problematizations is defended as a more effective political intervention. Particular attention is directed to the place of problematization as a mediating concept in understanding how practices constitute “objec...
Article
This article offers a poststructuralist analytic strategy that highlights the political nature of interview analysis. Interviews pose a particular challenge for poststructuralist researchers given a widespread view that they are a method for accessing the ‘truth’. We develop a strategy that bypasses this difficulty by analysing precisely ‘what is s...
Article
This article offers a poststructuralist analytic strategy that highlights the political nature of interview analysis. Interviews pose a particular challenge for poststructuralist researchers given a widespread view that they are a method for accessing the ‘truth’. We develop a strategy that bypasses this difficulty by analysing precisely ‘what is s...
Article
ABSTRACT For some time feminist scholars have been concerned with rethinking the constraints imposed on feminists’ strategies by categorical distinctions, such as the distinction between “women” and “men.” This issue has become more pressing due to a political commitment to recognize diversity among women and among men (consider here discussions of...
Book
This book offers a novel, refreshing and politically engaged way to think about public policy. Instead of treating policy as simply the government’s best efforts to address problems, it offers a way to question critically how policies produce “problems” as particular sorts of problems, with important political implications. Governing, it is argued,...
Chapter
This Appendix introduces a new poststructural approach to interview analysis. It outlines seven closely related processes that address the following questions: • precisely what is said in the interview? • how was it or is it possible to say those things? • which networks of relations (discursive practices) are relevant to the interview topic? • wha...
Article
For some time feminist scholars have been concerned with rethinking the constraints imposed on feminists’ strategies by categorical distinctions, such as the distinction between “women” and “men.” This issue has become more pressing due to a political commitment to recognize diversity among women and among men (consider here discussions of mascu- l...
Article
Full-text available
This article directs attention to the significance, for health promotion advocates, of reflecting on how “problems” are constituted, or brought into existence, as particular sorts of problems, within policies and policy proposals. To this end, it introduces a poststructural analytic strategy called “What’s the Problem Represented to be?” (WPR appro...
Article
Full-text available
This article directs attention to the significance, for health promotion advocates, of reflecting on how “problems” are constituted, or brought into existence, as particular sorts of problems, within policies and policy proposals. To this end, it introduces a poststructural analytic strategy called “What’s the Problem Represented to be?” (WPR appro...
Chapter
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 eng...
Chapter
The challenge in this chapter is to rethink commonly assumed geographical “entities” or “places”. Such “entities” play a pivotal role in how governing takes place and are most often treated by policy makers as taken-for-granted physical sites or locations. The chapter shows how poststructural policy analysis, illustrated in applications of WPR, enc...
Chapter
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 imp...
Chapter
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, wi...
Chapter
The “What’s the Problem Represented to be?” (WPR) approach invokes a number of concepts that require elaboration. Many rely, at least to an extent, upon the writings of Michel Foucault, indicated in the quotations from his works. This chapter explains how these concepts are interlinked and how they function to produce the form of theorizing enabled...
Chapter
Through applications of the WPR approach from several policy fields, this chapter explores the proposition that policies produce “objects”. It draws upon theory introduced in Chapter 3, with emphasis upon the notions of discursive practice, genealogy, and governmentality. The following questions guide the analysis: What does it mean to problematize...
Chapter
The Conclusion provides an overview of the main points developed in the book. It includes a brief synopsis of each chapter and highlights the usefulness of the WPR approach for those involved in policy development. The key premises of the approach are summarized to facilitate application.
Article
This book offers a novel, refreshing and politically engaged way to think about public policy. Instead of treating policy as simply the government’s best efforts to address problems, it offers a way to question critically how policies produce “problems” as particular sorts of problems, with important political implications. Governing, it is argued,...
Chapter
The Introduction articulates how a poststructural approach to policy analysis provides an important vehicle for questioning how governing takes place. It begins by sketching the broad parameters of a poststructural approach as a form of critical analysis that allows a refreshing skepticism toward the full range of things commonly associated with po...
Article
This article examines how the issue of alcohol use has been problematized using past and current World Health Organization reports and associated publications as illustrations. The 2010 Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol serves as a salient example. Applying an approach to policy analysis called “What’s the Problem Represented to...
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this paper is to introduce and elaborate the varied meanings of problematization in contemporary policy theory. The primary focus is on the different meanings and uses of the term in interpretivism and in Foucault-influenced poststructuralism. The paper argues that interpre- tive/argumentative adaptations direct attention primarily t...
Article
Health researchers in a number of settings are expressing concern about the ‘gap’ between what we ‘know’ about the social determinants of health and of health inequalities, and the lack of action based upon this ‘knowledge’. Indeed, the ‘know-do gap’ has become almost a mantra echoed across international and some national institutional sites. This...
Article
This paper joins the ongoing conversation about the desirability, or undesirability, of feminists becoming “new institutionalists”, which is linked to broader concerns about feminists seeking legitimacy as political “scientists”. With “feminist discursive institutionalism” as exemplar, it introduces the argument that paradigms, and hence methodolog...
Article
Full-text available
This paper has its genesis in concerns about the return to “the real” in social and political theory and analysis. This trend is linked to a reaction against the “linguistic turn”, on the grounds that an exclusive focus on language undercuts political analysis by refusing to engage with “material reality”. Foucault and “discourse” are common target...
Chapter
The chapter develops the argument that research is an active component in the shaping of different realities (ontological politics) and,therefore, is, at its core, a political practice. Hence, it becomes important politically to contest the view that research produces disinterested, objective contributions to solving clearly observable societal pro...
Chapter
This chapter provides a brief overview of Carol Bacchi's novel approach to policy analysis, called 'What's the Problem Represented to be?' (or WPR approach). This approach starts from the premise that what one proposes to do about something reveals what one thinks is problematic (needs to change). Following this thinking, policies and policy propos...
Chapter
The chapter raises questions about the disjunction between theories of citizenship and embodiment, and explores how the concept of 'social flesh' produces new ways of thinking about a range of pressing contemporary political issues. Specifically we offer the concept as a counter to the currently pervasive ethic of neo-liberal 'man'.
Article
Full-text available
This paper introduces the theoretical concept, problematization, as it is developed in Foucauldian-inspired poststructural analysis. The objective is two-fold: first, to show how a study of problematizations politicizes taken-for-granted “truths”; and second, to illustrate how this analytic approach opens up novel ways of approaching the study of p...
Chapter
This collection of essays establishes the claim that it is unwise to think about ‘gender mainstreaming’ or ‘gender analysis’ as sets of procedures that necessarily make useful changes when they are put into place as policies. Rather we direct attention to the on-the-ground political deliberations (at every level of social interaction) that affect w...
Article
This article was written prior to the commencement of the Gender Analysis Project, discussed in the Introduction. Reflecting Bacchi’s policy background, it focuses primarily on connections between how policy is theorised and divergent models of gender analysis. This focus remains a theme throughout the chapters to follow, especially in Chapter 5. E...
Article
Full-text available
In Chapter 5 we identify the ‘project trap’ – subservience to wider policy objectives – as a major constraint on potentially transformative gender analysis processes. There we show, for example, how privatisation of health care (Armstrong 2002) increases the caring work that those marked as ‘women’ will have to do, reinforcing the conventional dome...
Article
Introduction: Carol Bacchi and Joan Eveline This chapter offers additional reflections on the ‘learnings’ that emerged from the Gender Analysis Project. With a particular focus on the South Australian experience, it outlines how the shared practice of collaborative discussion within the project's reference group (which consisted of the university r...
Chapter
Introduction: Joan Eveline and Carol Bacchi This chapter examines the primary organising processes which produce the meanings of policy statements. It outlines and inspects the social power circumscribing these policy statements, the relations of power and resistance involved in such statements, and their effects on those subject to the policy. The...
Article
There is considerable research showing that gender is deemed irrelevant to organizations and to policy. This paper examines the results of a research project that sought to reverse those 'rules of relevance'. The project required policy actors in several public sector organizations to undertake a gender analysis of their policies. We found that it...
Article
There is considerable research showing that gender is deemed irrelevant to organizations and to policy. This paper examines the results of a research project that sought to reverse those ‘rules of relevance’. The project required policy actors in several public sector organizations to undertake a gender analysis of their policies. We found that it...
Article
Full-text available
Amongst recent debates about whether it is preferable to campaign for gender mainstreaming or diversity mainstreaming this paper makes the case that both proposals involve fields of contestation. Either reform, it argues, could be taken in anti‐progressive directions. Hence, we redirect attention to the processes and practices that give an initiati...
Article
This article examines the question of whether and how the intersectional oppression of sexism and racism can be challenged by government policy. It draws on a case study of an Indigenous policy strategy in Australia to argue that, in contrast to concerns expressed by feminist policymakers, gender equality is not inevitably neglected when the target...
Chapter
The chapter reflects on possible limitations in the understanding of framing as intentional process. It develops the suggestion that frames may reflect deep cultural meanings, raising the possibility that frames themselves have a certain power over how issues are represented. In turn, it suggests that questions must be asked about the kind of polit...
Article
In some places where gender mainstreaming is introduced, affirmative action is either reduced or eliminated. This paper asks how this happens. It argues that reform initiatives like gender mainstreaming and affirmative action are best thought of as fields of contestation where the meanings attached to key terms play a significant role in outcomes....
Article
Community consultation has become a widely accepted part of policy development in Australia. In this article, we consider how, in an Australian context, consultation can be incorporated within gender analysis processes. Gender analysis refers to systematic procedures to detect and correct gender bias in the full range of government programs, projec...
Article
This paper makes a case for extending the scope of ethical reflection and debate in public policy beyond the current tendency to confine ethical scrutiny to the behaviours of individual politicians or public servants, and/or to a restricted set of issues characterized as “moral” issues, decided by “conscience” (eg abortion, euthanasia, etc.). It ar...
Article
In times like these, a new ethico-political ideal is required to contest the adequacy of dominant understandings of social interaction as matters of choice and rational decision-making and in contesting these understandings encourage us to imagine social alternatives. We wish to make a contribution to this project of expanding the universe of polit...
Article
This paper makes a case for extending the scope of ethical reflection and debate in public policy beyond the current tendency to confine ethical scrutiny to the behaviours of individual politicians or public servants, and/or to a restricted set of issues characterized as “moral” issues, decided by “conscience” (eg abortion, euthanasia, etc.). It ar...
Article
Full-text available
This paper introduces a novel approach to thinking about policy formulation. The approach, called 'what's the problem represented to be?', draws attention to the need to interrogate the ways in which policy proposals constitute the 'problems' they purport to address (Bacchi 1999). This insight is applied to a range of dominant and sub-dominant repr...
Chapter
This chapter canvasses the arguments for and against quotas for women in political participation. It elaborates the ways in which key concepts - equality, representations, citizenship and rights - relate to the quota issue, the bases of disagreement, and theoretical developments that attempt to shift the issue past some theoretical sticking points....
Article
This paper uses preliminary findings from an ARC-funded Linkage grant to speculate on the requirements for producing gender analysis as a change process. Gender analysis, commonly associated with gender mainstreaming, is a methodology aimed at ensuring that all projects, programs and policies are gender-inclusive and gender-sensitive. In the Linkag...
Article
In the policies and practices of gender mainstreaming, gender itself is a contested concept. This article examines versions of gender mainstreaming in two countries, focusing on approaches we term the Canadian and Netherlands models. We show how different understandings of gender are attached to different reform approaches, and intimate how particu...
Article
The purpose of this article is to provoke much-needed discussion on the uses by feminists, in particular feminist political scientists, of the language of discourse , discourses and discursive . The terms, it argues, have become ubiquitous, with considerable confusion about intended meanings. A particular concern is the growing tendency among some...
Article
In the policies and practices of gender mainstreaming, gender itself is a contested concept. This article examines versions of gender mainstreaming in two countries, focusing on approaches we term the Canadian and Netherlands models. We show how different understandings of gender are attached to different reform approaches, and intimate how particu...
Article
Full-text available
This paper uses preliminary findings from an ARC-funded Linkage grant to speculate on the requirements for producing gender analysis as a change process. Gender analysis, commonly associated with gender mainstreaming, is a methodology aimed at ensuring that all projects, programs and policies are gender-inclusive and gender-sensitive. In the Linkag...
Article
This paper uses debates around affirmative/positive action to offer insights into the usefulness and limitations of discourse approaches to policy analysis. It illustrates that a particular understanding of affirmative action as preferential treatment has become hegemonic. This understanding relies upon a view that background social rules are gener...
Article
The paper offers a comparative analysis of dominant mainstreaming and gender analysis frameworks to consider the nature of the relationship between these equality initiatives and neoliberalism. We challenge the portrayal of mainstreaming as necessarily resistant to neoliberalism, and show how dominant forms of mainstreaming illustrate characteristi...
Book
An illuminating story of motherhood, Fear of Food is Carol Bacchi's account of the first two years of her son's life - battling his rejection of food, encountering dismissive health professionals, struggling with sleep deprivation, and alone with her uncertainties.
Article
The paper offers a comparative analysis of dominant mainstreaming and gender analysis frameworks to consider the nature of the relationship between these equality initiatives and neoliberalism. We challenge the portrayal of mainstreaming as necessarily resistant to neoliberalism, and show how dominant forms of mainstreaming illustrate characteristi...
Article
In this article, we draw connections between notions of embodiment and conceptions of citizenship to provide insights into contemporary debates about desirable modes of governance. We suggest that there is a need to challenge the instrumental conception of bodies which informs much public policy (our examples are New Reproductive Technologies and c...
Article
The starting point for this paper is that bodies give substance to citizenship and that citizenship matters for bodies. However, the growing literatures on the body and on citizenship rarely 'speak to each other' in any straightforward sense. Feminist theory has made a significant contribution to both fields of thought,but once again the connection...
Article
The abstract for this document is available on CSA Illumina.To view the Abstract, click the Abstract button above the document title.
Chapter
The chapter raises questions about a grievance procedures approach to sexual harassment. The argument is that this approach sees sexual harassment as a problem for institutions, as something exogenous to them in a sense, and hence as something 'they' must manage. It develops the alternative that sexual harassment is an institutional by-product of a...
Article
The paper uses a 1912 case study from South Australia to provoke questions about the way in which feminists have treated historical cases of sexual harassment. It suggests that there are three ‘danger zones’ In these representations: the tendency to assume that we today deal more successfully with instances of harassment, the tendency to interpret...
Article
A model for regulating faculty-student consensual sexual relations in colleges and universities is offered. The model focuses on both removing conflict of interest and expanding women's ability to define the kinds of relationships they want. Standards for conflict of interest and unethical sexual advances are outlined. (MSE)
Article
It is proposed that, to address the lack of women in senior academic ranks, higher education should reexamine appointment procedures, scrutinize the standards by which men have been assessed traditionally, ask men to justify their own merit, and examine the way in which male academics interact with their female counterparts. (MSE)
Article
Discusses a case of sexual harassment that occurred in 1912 in the South Australian Education Department, in which the perpetrator was held responsible for his behavior even though he believed that this should not have been in question. Suggests that the professional discourse of middle-class gentility and its assumptions about gentlemanly conduct...
Article
A discussion of sexual harassment and the environment on college campuses looks at the general relationship between faculty and students, academic power structures, the meaning of consent, standards of male behavior, and the use of professional codes of ethics for faculty. Focus is on the Australian higher education institution and the policies of...
Book
This book examines how the women's movement has engaged with the question of women's sameness to or difference from men over time and in three countries - Australia, Britain and the United States. Challenging a common view of the women's movement as perpetually riven into 'sameness' and 'difference' camps, Same Difference highlights the political c...
Article
Sexuality continues to be a key issue for those studying the history and evolution of gender relations. It has also attracted many social theorists interested in the construction of social relations more generally.This paper aims to contribute to both areas. It uses the texts of two leading feminist birth controllers at the turn of the century, Mar...
Article
Half-title: The ideas of English-Canadian suffragists, 1877-1918. Includes abstracts in English and French. Thesis (Ph. D.)--McGill University, 1977. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 400-445). Microfiche of typescript.
Book
This book examines the types of arguments mounted in favour of woman suffrage in English-speaking Canada. It identifies a religious, pro-temperance grouping and a more secular reform grouping. Themes raised through the suffrage movement include race regeneration, evolution and social purity.
Article
Part of the purpose of this paper is to show that a consensus now exists among historians of the movement about the limitations of the suffragists' programme. Studies of the American, British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand movements concur that the suffragists wished to preserve the family and did not challenge the priority of woman's matern...
Article
Thèse (M.A.) - McGill University, 1970. Bibliogr. : f. 151-168. Microfilm du manuscrit.
Article
Thesis (M.A.)--McGill University. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 151-168).