Expanding Public Health Policy Analysis for Transformative Change: The Importance of Power and Ideas; Comment on “What Generates Attention to Health in Trade Policy-Making? Lessons From Success in Tobacco Control and Access to Medicines: A Qualitative Study of Australia and the (Comprehensive and Progressive) Trans-Pacific Partnership”

Document Type : Commentary


1 Department of Global Health and Development, Faculty of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. London, UK

2 College of Medicine and Health, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK


It is increasingly recognised within public health scholarship that policy change depends on the nature of the power relations surrounding and embedded within decision-making spaces. It is only through sustained shifts in power in all its forms (visible, hidden and invisible) that previously excluded perspectives have influence in policy decisions. Further, consideration of the underlying neoliberal paradigm is essential for understanding how existing power dynamics and relations have emerged and are sustained. In their analysis of political and governance factors, Townsend et al have provided critical insight into future potential strategies for increasing attention to health concerns in trade policy. In this commentary we explore how incorporating theories of power more rigorously into similar political analyses, as well as more explicit critical consideration of the neoliberal political paradigm, can assist in analysing if and how strategies can effectively challenge existing power relations in ways that are necessary for transformative policy change.


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Volume 11, Issue 4
April 2022
Pages 521-524
  • Receive Date: 14 August 2020
  • Revise Date: 03 October 2020
  • Accept Date: 04 October 2020
  • First Publish Date: 19 October 2020