chapter  11
16 Pages

Doing comparison

Producing authority in an international organization
ByRichard Freeman, Steve Sturdy

This chapter offers an answer by looking at comparison, not simply as a means of generating policy-relevant knowledge, but as itself a form of policy work. International comparison is one of the principal ways in which national governments nowadays seek to assess and improve the effectiveness of their policies, from delivery of services such as education and healthcare, to control of social issues such as crime and migration, to administrative functions such as tax collection. By following the different ways in which WHO has sought to produce comparative knowledge of mental health provision, the chapter focuses on the different ways it has endeavored to configure itself as an authoritative policy organization. Neither document provided any empirical evidence in support of the public mental health perspective or the particular lines of action that they recommended; rather, they read more like a statement of shared aims and values than an example of evidence-based policy.