Critical Policy Studies.


386 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 978-0-7748-1317-4
DDC 320.60971





Edited by Michael Orsini and Miriam Smith
Reviewed by Barb Bloemhof

Barb Bloemhof is an assistant professor in the Department of Sport
Management at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario.


This collection of 15 essays provides a variety of innovative perspectives on current public policy studies. Each of the contributions uses a new lens to analyze the policy domain. In the opening chapter, Peter Graefe argues that power both shapes and is shaped by the interplay of actors, including the state, in policy formulationa theme that is echoed in many of the applied pieces in the book. Miriam Smith’s essay on queering Canadian public policy borrows constructively from feminist analysis, arguing persuasively that the way to arrive at appropriate policy for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations is to ensure the participation of the LGBT community in the policy process. Smith goes on to say that this process might even mean normalizing some traditional straight roles just as feminine roles sometimes met male stereotypes in the transition. Luc Juillet’s nuanced discursive approach to environmental policy provides insights absent from the standard interest group and institutional approaches. There are similar innovations in work on globalization, citizen engagement, agenda setting, aboriginal rights, border policy, and health care.

The new approaches coexist with more traditional analytical frameworks for policy research. However, the authors frequently identify places where these other frameworks leave gaps in the explanation of actual political outcomes. Incorporating adaptations of approaches to policy questions provides important new direction to future research in public policy. This volume is a useful text for anyone interested in policy studies.


“Critical Policy Studies.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 15, 2024,