Policy Analysis

In this section I perform a policy analysis on the key text, using a Discourse Analysis Toolbox. In the next section I look in greater depth at some sub-topics, and the following sections develop the analysis deeper.

In the Government and Policy pages, I have selected the Aims and Objectives of DEFRA for analysis. This is the key UK food policy text, and I have looked at the part that this text plays in the work of the Department

A more full description of the Discourse Analysis Toolbox can be found at the companion Toolbox site. The full toolbox contains 15 sets of tools, which, if applied systematically, can generate a large mass of interesting data about the text(s) chosen. My particular interest with the Toolbox is to try and work out "what the author really thinks". I have copied over the 6 most interesting pages from the Toolbox site, and I have given an overview of the full study in the following sections. [the full Toolbox would be needed for full understanding of the text, but this would be a very lengthy process. You can commission a study if you are interested in the full toolbox ]


1. The Context of Food Policy
2. Government and Policy
3. Policy Analysis
Decision Techniques
Lobby Influences
The Imaginary Reader
A Site of Struggle
Situation Analysis
Repetition (of "sustainability")
Links and Entanglements
4. In-depth analysis of sub-topics
5. The Dispositive (Triangulation)
6. Summary
7. Conclusions

Overview. Before describing somne of the techniques in detail (on the sub-pages of this section), it is worth mentioning the following overall points:-

  • nearly every word in this text represents another major discourse. Taking this further, one could propose that the main purpose of the text is to collect and balance the external discourses which are most important in the opinion of the government. This could be a useful definition of government - it chooses the most important discourses for a society and applies them !
  • from a discourse perspective, everything should be seen in the context of 'the great milling mass' which dominates all communication. The government has selected the parts of this 'milling mass' that it deals with, and then selected how to deal with them abnd how to present them to the public and other readers.

Most of the sub-topics of this section are pages which are repeated on the Discourse Toolbox site, the exception being the page on Decision Techniques. This is interesting because 'classical methods' of policy analysis are available, however, the text shows no signs of any of these being used, rather it seems like a Central Policy Unit may have used a standard set of techniques for decision making to generate 10 major topics and convert tham into aims.

As mentioned above, I have chosen these pages because they are the most interesting ones - a considerable body of material from using the full toolbox has been omitted.

I am offering my services as a "Discourse and Text analysis Specialist" using my
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