Bacchi as pedagogy: Surfacing equality and human rights in public policy teaching

Angela O’Hagan


Understanding the structural dimensions of inequality, and reflecting on our own assumptions and the presuppositions and knowledge basis of the institutions we work in is key to a critical approach to management and to learning. That is the central argument of this article which demonstrates the application of Bacchi’s ‘What’s the Problem Represented to be?’ framework in the learning, teaching and assessment in a post graduate programme on Citizenship and Human Rights. Based on critical theories in feminism, disability, racism, globalisation and human rights, the programme aimed to support «practitioner students» in acquiring new theoretical knowledge and applying that to their organisational practice. Reflecting on current practice and procedures and thinking backwards from current ways of thinking and doing, students were encouraged to «critically engage in thinking otherwise», as exhorted by Bacchi. Through this critical engagement with theory and practice, student practitioners could then «surface» the equalities and human rights dimensions and tensions in their work.


Equality; Human rights; Public policy; Social justice; Feminism


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14198/fem.2020.35.08

Copyright (c) 2020 Angela O’Hagan

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