Meanings in policy: A textual analysis of Canada's “Achieving Health for All” document
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This paper presents a textual analysis of a key Canadian health policy document--Achieving Health for All (AHFA). It begins by establishing the importance of policy language and an interpretive approach to reveal dominant meanings and assumptions. This approach points out the significance of language and its contexts (text and intertext) and of developing a formal analytic strategy, based on semiotics. The paper concludes with a detailed, illustrated analysis of AHFA, suggesting that the document's discourse, through appealing to all, with emphases on the nation, community and all Canadians, establishes a frame of individual responsibility and rights, health promotion and broad health determinants--a frame that resonates with the cost-constrained nature of health care delivery-as found in provincial reform documents in the 1980s and 1990s.
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