Putting the ‘Policy’ back into Social Policy

Newman, Janet (2002). Putting the ‘Policy’ back into Social Policy. Social Policy and Society, 1(4) pp. 347–354.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1474746402004098


This paper argues that the study of social policy can be enriched by a greater focus on the dynamics of the policy process itself. Such a focus needs to transcend the usual descriptive accounts of institutions and implementation methods. The paper draws on a range of theoretical approaches that illuminate the shaping and delivery of policy, from classic theories of power and the state to analyses of the micro-dynamics of the policy-action relationship. The paper explores the contribution of recent developments in governance theory, and assesses contemporary debates about the `modernisation' of the policy process and the focus on evaluating `what works' in social policy.

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