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Policy reconsideredMeanings, politics and practices$
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Susan M. Hodgson and Zoe Irving

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9781861349132

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861349132.001.0001

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Categorising and policy making

Categorising and policy making

(p.61) four Categorising and policy making
Policy reconsidered

Joanne Britton

Policy Press

Reconsidering policy requires a closer look at the process of categorisation in policy making. Categorising is integral to the dynamics of the policy-making process. It plays a key part in the conception, design, and implementation of policies. It illustrates how policy is a meaning-making process in which categories are symbolically created according to the policy-making context. Theorising policy requires considering both how and why categorising occurs. This includes examining the rationale behind the requirement for categories in policy-making and the impact behind the adopted categories of policy development. This emphasises the fact that categories employed by policymakers should not be taken for granted; rather, they should always be questioned as a crucial part of problematising policy. This chapter discusses categorising and policy making. It first illustrates that categorising is part of the meaning and language of policy because policy making involves putting people into categories. Second, it elucidates how categorising is part of the practical framework for the expression of political messages and achievement of social goals. Finally, the chapter discloses how a critical look at categorisation aids a better understanding of the practice of policy because of its contribution to the awareness of the extent to which policies can attain their stated goals.

Keywords:   policy, policy making, categorising, categorisation, categories, policy development

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