Chapter 1 begins by providing an introduction and historical background to the concept of consumer choice and mapping the spread of consumer-oriented social care policies across the UK, continental Europe and North America, from the 1990s to the present day. It then examines the literature on IF more specifically, drawing out two distinct lines of enquiry into its origins and its propensity for cross-country movement and mutation. Here I point to the paucity of critical research into IF’s global and networked dimensions. Alternative theories of global policy diffusion are evaluated in terms of how well they account for diffusion in a climate of neoliberalism, on the one hand, and their attentiveness to the specific, embodied and localised forms that neoliberalism takes, on the other. I provide a theoretical frame for the study, drawing on the burgeoning ‘policy mobilities’ literature in the fields of human geography and critical policy studies. Here I show how the policy mobilities approach attempts to navigate some middle way between structuralist and agent-centric approaches, foreshadowing the approach I develop and apply in this book. Finally, in this section, I illuminate the specific gap or weakness in the policy mobility theoretic, which this book more broadly addresses.