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This course asks you to engage with the central question "What is the role of the state in people's lives?" It considers the politics of public policy: that is, the powers, players, interests and approaches that shape policy making, implementation, and evaluation.

We begin from the understanding that policy-making is political in nature because the distribution of power among and between the groups and individuals involved is unequal. Therefore, as we study policy making as a political process we highlight the fact that making policy involves conflict and cooperation; struggles for power, influence and authority; and includes groups and individuals both inside and outside government.

The course will examine both the problems and methods of decision-making in the modern state from the perspective of a range of differently situated 'policy workers'. We will explore a range of ideological, analytical and theoretical approaches to public policy along with problems of participation and implementation. Fundamentally, the course is concerned with the power of the state and the exercise of that power in people's lives through the creation and implementation of public policy.

Study Level


Offering Terms

Term 3



Delivery Mode

Partially online

Indicative contact hours


Conditions for Enrolment

Prerequisite: Enrolment in a Master of Development Studies, International Relations, or Public Policy and Governance

Course Outline

To access course outline, please visit:


Pre-2019 Handbook Editions

Access past handbook editions (2018 and prior)

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