The aim of this article is to present a less negative and more rounded analysis of the potential contribution of postmodernism to social policy than that presented by Taylor-Gooby (1994) in this journal entitled ‘Postmodernism: A Great Leap Backwards?’. It covers four major themes. First, it examines Foucault's ideas on power/knowledge, the body, discipline and surveillance. Second, the article explores the connections between feminism, postmodernism and social policy. Third, it analyses theories of the poststructural state. Fourth, it considers a neglected topic in the subject of space and assesses the contribution of postmodern discourses of spatiality and their relevance to social policy. The article acknowledges the contradiction arising from post-modernism's critique of meta-theory and mainstream social policy's commitment to universalism, but concludes that the answer does not lie in the universal rejection of postmodernism but in the use of the ideas and insights to move the discipline in new directions.
(Received November 10 1994)
(Accepted December 08 1994)
* School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol