Resistance or resignation to welfare reform? The activist politics for and against social citizenship

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Daniel Edmiston University of Leeds, UK

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Louise Humpage University of Auckland, New Zealand

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Since 2008, mature welfare states have, to varying degrees, pursued a strategy of welfare reform that has reconfigured the dominant praxis of social citizenship. Drawing on qualitative data from two studies, this paper explores what bearing this has had on the political subjectivity of welfare claimants in the New Zealand context. The findings suggest welfare claimants engage in diverse political struggles for and against social citizenship to resist, reconfigure and resign themselves to the prevailing socio-political settlement. In light of this, conclusions are drawn about the insurgent politics of low-income social security claimants as political agents in the citizenship-making process.

Daniel Edmiston University of Leeds, UK

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Louise Humpage University of Auckland, New Zealand

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