The idea of policy is ripe for critical reappraisal. Whilst the context for policy making changes constantly, multiple questions endure, such as how policy is conceived and why; what is taken for granted and what gets problematised; and how policy should be informed, analysed and understood.
This book identifies key topics within the policy arena and subjects them to theoretical and practical analysis. It explores the meaning and framing of policy, and examines its practice from the micro- to the supra-national levels, using illustrative case studies to demonstrate how policy is contested, shaped and accounted for. Given the significance of policy as a means to organise and direct social, economic and political life, this book presents the case for a critical restatement of its origins, development and form - without which we risk being caught up in a cycle of change without understanding why or how.
The book presents a productive encounter between the three themes of meanings, politics and practices, themes normally not brought together in a single text. It emphasizes the multiplicity of perspectives that can be directed towards understanding the policy world, opening up new ground as well as visiting anew some familiar terrain. Targeted at upper undergraduate and postgraduate students and their teachers, it will also be of interest to researchers and policy actors wanting insight to their project.
Susan M. Hodgson is Director of Research Training for Social Sciences at the University of Sheffield. Her research specialism is in sociology of science. Zoe Irving is Lecturer in Comparative Social Policy at the University of Sheffield, and has published in the areas of gender and employment and the teaching of social policy.
Policy and its exploration ~ Susan M. Hodgson and Zoe Irving; Part One: Meanings: Introduction; The meaning of policy/policy as meaning ~ Richard Jenkins; Policy and the 'good society' ~ David Phillips; Categorising and policy making ~ Joanne Britton; Part Two: Politics: Introduction; Language, politics and values ~ Marilyn Gregory; Business, power, policy and politics ~ Kevin Farnsworth; (Social) Policy and politics at the international level ~ Bob Deacon; Part Three: Practices: Introduction; Ethics, research and policy ~ Malcolm Cowburn; User involvement ~ Kathy Boxall, Lorna Warren and Ruby C.M. Chau; Policies as translation: situating transnational social policies ~ Noemi Lendvai and Paul Stubbs; Studying policy: a way forward ~ Susan M. Hodgson and Zoe Irving.