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Unit information: Critical Policy Studies and the Internationalisation of Public Policy in 2015/16

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Unit name Critical Policy Studies and the Internationalisation of Public Policy
Unit code SPOLM0031
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Lendvai-Bainton
Open unit status Not open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

The aim of this unit is to introduce critical policy studies and international public policy as emerging fields within policy studies. The unit will provide a theoretical and methodological overview of critical approaches to policy studies such as post-positivist and post-structuralist approaches, interpretive policy analysis, and anthropology of public policy. The unit will apply those theoretical tools to interrogate key international debates about policy making. The course will offer the opportunity for students to advance their skills in understanding policy processes, policy changes, policy transfers, and the role of policy-makers in an increasingly internationalized and transnationalised policy environment. The course will also offer an interdisciplinary outlook on understanding policy by utilizing approaches and perspectives from critical sociology, critical political geography, anthropology and political economy.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  • demonstrate critical understanding of various approaches to policy studies at transnational and international level
  • critically evaluate the theoretical foundations of critical policy studies
  • critically examine the complex dynamics of the internationalization and transnationalisation of public policy
  • critically reflect on different notions of power and the relationship between policy and politics at multiple scales and sites
  • demonstrate critical understanding of key processes of policy transfer, policy diffusion and policy translations
  • demonstrate methodological skills of critical policy studies research and internationalisation of public policy

Teaching Information

Lectures, seminars and group exercises

Assessment Information

An assessed essay of 4000 words based on an in-depth discussion of the literature as well as a selected policy case study. The assessed essay will require students to demonstrate the ability to apply critical theoretical frameworks to a particular policy area and trace the dynamics of transnationalisation and internationalisation of policy making in diverse policy environments.

Reading and References

Orsini, M. and Smith, M. (2007) Critical Policy Studies, University of British Columbia Press: Vancouver

Bacchi, C., Forest, F. (2009) Analysing Policy: What is the problem represented to be? NSW: Pearson Education.

Fischer, F. (2003) Reframing Public Policy: Discursive Politics and Deliberative Practices. New York: Oxford University Press.

Shore, C., Wright, S. and Pero, D. (2011) Policy Worlds: Anthropology and the Analysis of Contemporary Power, Berghahn Books: New York

Stone, D. (2012) Transfer and Translation of Policy, Policy Studies 33(6):483-499

Yanow, D. (1996) How does a policy mean? Georgetown University Press: Washington DC