Handbook of Critical Policy Studies
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Handbook of Critical Policy Studies

Edited by Frank Fischer, Douglas Torgerson, Anna Durnová and Michael Orsini

Critical policy studies, as illustrated in this Handbook, challenges the conventional approaches public policy inquiry. But it offers important innovations as well, in particular its focus on discursive politics, policy argumentation and deliberation, and interpretive modes of analysis.
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Chapter 25: Making gender visible: exploring feminist perspectives through the case of anti-smoking policy

Stephanie Paterson and Francesca Scala


Feminist policy studies is a relatively new subfield in policy studies, bringing together insights from multiple disciplines across the social sciences. Where early work focused on the gendered and gendering dimensions of policy, the field has since expanded to include several feminist frameworks aimed at interrogating the procedural, substantive and discursive dimensions of policy. Together this work has demonstrated that all policy is gendered. With a strong commitment to social justice, feminist policy studies offers theoretical and methodological tools through which to expose and potentially remedy social hierarchies, which are the focus of this chapter. The chapter proceeds in three sections. In the first section, we present a broad overview of the field, discussing its rich epistemological and methodological diversity, as well as its connection to critical policy studies. The second section focuses attention on some of the key contributions to feminist policy studies, considering some of the ways in which feminist scholars have examined policy processes and outcomes. Finally, in the third section, we illuminate the unique insights of feminist policy studies through a case study on tobacco control policy in which we compare and contrast three broad approaches to policy studies. We conclude with a discussion of the ongoing challenges of feminist policy studies and possible future developments in the field.

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