This book offers an innovative rethinking of policy approaches to ‘gender equality’ and of the process of social change. It brings several new chapters together with a series of previously published articles to reflect on these topics.
A particular focus is gender mainstreaming, a relatively recent development in equality policy in many industrialised and some industrialising countries, as well as in large international organisations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the International Labour Organization.
The book draws upon poststructuralist organisation and policy theory to argue that it is impossible to ‘script’ reform initiatives such as gender mainstreaming. As an alternative it recommends thinking about such policy developments as fields of contestation, shaped by on-the-ground political deliberations and practices, including the discursive practices that produce specific ways of understanding the ‘problem’ of ‘gender inequality’.
In addition to the new chapters Bacchi and Eveline produce brief introductions for each chapter, tracing the development of their ideas over four years. Through these commentaries the book provides exciting insights into the complex processes of collaboration and theory generation.
Mainstreaming Politics is a rich resource for both practitioners in the field and for theorists. In particular it will appeal to those interested in public policy, public administration, organisation studies, sociology, comparative politics and international studies.
About the authors
Carol Bacchi is Professor Emeritus in the School of History and Politics, University of Adelaide. She researches and writes in the following theoretical fields: policy, feminism, citizenship and embodiment.
Joan Eveline (d.) was Associate Professor in the Business School, University of Western Australia (UWA) and Co-Director of the Consortium for Diversity at Work, UWA. She researched and taught in the sociology of work, critical management, leadership, and industrial relations.
'... a powerful analysis of gender equality policies and their construction that involves reasserting the centrality of politics, power and meaning-making.'
Jennifer Curtin, The University of Auckland. Reviewed in International Feminist Journal of Politics, 14:1, 2012.
'... it is a great, unsettling contribution to the feminist discussion on gender mainstreaming: not a high-flying theoretical exercise or arguing with pros and cons, but instead as a grounded, theoretically engaged book raising difficult questions.'
Hanne Marlene Dahl, Roskilde University. Reviewed in Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, 33:3, 2012.
'This is an excellent book that makes highly significant contributions to feminist theory and to research on gender equality policy, gender mainstreaming, and diversity policy. It also contributes to the field of organizations and organizational change processes. … It is highly innovative and deeply thoughtful in its discussions of concepts, organizing processes, and the roles of researchers and policy people in organizations. As the authors contend, the process of reducing the effects of sexism, racism, class, and other manifestations of inequality and oppression are ongoing and long term. For that reason I think that this book will continue to be relevant to feminist theorists, researchers and policy advocates for a very long time.
The book also raises many questions that can only be addressed as efforts to deal with these problems continue. Finally, the innovative and thoughtful use of existing theory and the formulation of challenging questions that are still to be answered should make the book a valuable resource for academics in the future.'
Joan Acker, Professor Emerita, Department of Sociology, University of Oregon.