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Jane Mulderrig, Nicolina Montesano Montessori and Michael Farrelly

This chapter makes a case for the added value of integrating Critical Discourse Analysis with Critical Policy Studies, producing a theoretical and methodological synergy we term ‘Critical Policy Discourse Analysis’ (CPDA). It lays the groundwork for the highly practical and method-focused chapters which follow. The intellectual origins and key theoretical assumptions of Critical Policy Studies and Critical Discourse Analysis are reviewed in order to reveal the conceptual underpinnings and complementarities which lead us to propose this integrated approach to policy research. The chapter examines some of the key concerns of post-positivist approaches to policy research, and demonstrates how CPDA is ideally suited to address them. It offers definitions of core concepts like text, discourse and interdiscursivity, before outlining how the remaining empirical chapters fit into this CPDA approach.