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A series of journalistic books and articles exploring the Alt-Right provide detailed empirical data critical to understanding the underpinning social networks of the Alt-Right. However, intensive media focus on young, working-class – usually American – white supremacists sharing extremist material over the internet masks incidences of closely related racist, conspiracist, misogynist, and ‘anti-elitist’ ideology in wider, often middle-class mainstream media, politics, and social policy discourse. This article problematises these narratives. Drawing partly on the work of Mary Douglas and Antonio Gramsci, we contribute to ongoing national and international ‘Alt-Right’ debates with an interdisciplinary, political-anthropological model of ‘mainstremeist’ belief and action. This approach highlights the links between ‘fringe’ and ‘centre’ into an entangled social network seeking to deploy social policy as a tool of misogynist, patriarchal, racist, and classist retrenchment.

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Bringing together the voices of leading experts in the field, this edition offers an up-to-date and diverse review of the best in social policy scholarship over the past year. The book considers a range of current issues and critical debates in UK and international social policy. It contains vital research, including discussions on the changing landscape of welfare in the UK and Europe more widely since the 2008/09 crisis, the continuing impact of austerity on social policy areas such as the NHS, social care and disability, the financialisation of pensions and corporatisation of welfare as well as topical contributions on the ‘Air Jamaica generation’ and the Alt-Right from a social policy perspective. Published in association with the SPA, this comprehensive analysis of the current state of social policy will be of interest to students and academics in social policy, social welfare and related disciplines.

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Bringing together the voices of leading experts in the field, this edition offers an up-to-date and diverse review of the best in social policy scholarship over the past year. The book considers a range of current issues and critical debates in UK and international social policy. It contains vital research, including discussions on the changing landscape of welfare in the UK and Europe more widely since the 2008/09 crisis, the continuing impact of austerity on social policy areas such as the NHS, social care and disability, the financialisation of pensions and corporatisation of welfare as well as topical contributions on the ‘Air Jamaica generation’ and the Alt-Right from a social policy perspective. Published in association with the SPA, this comprehensive analysis of the current state of social policy will be of interest to students and academics in social policy, social welfare and related disciplines.

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This chapter will focus on the impact that the post 2008 austerity regime has had on the lives of disabled people in the UK. It will trace the way in which previous hard- fought for rights in social care and welfare that have been developing since 1997 have been stripped back under austerity. It will focus on the stigmatisation of disabled people as ‘shirkers’, welfare conditionality and budget cuts. Looking at social care, direct payments and self-directed support, and the move from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payments and the impact of other changes in the benefits system, it will examine how these changes have created a ‘perfect storm’ of welfare cutbacks. It will also look at how disability intersects with gender and age to reduce rights and support further, particularly with the reduction of support available to informal carers. Looking forward, this chapter will examine the impact of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum and the devolution of universal credit and DLA to see whether there is likely to be some divergence in disability rights between Scotland the rest of the UK, and speculate about the possible outcomes of Brexit and our withdrawal from the EU.

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This chapter examines the NHS in a cold climate of a decade of austerity. This period has first seen a broad move from the optimism of its 60th anniversary and greater pessimism of its 70th anniversary. Second, it has seen a game of two halves from a preoccupation with the reorganisation of the Lansley Health and Social Care Act towards ways of working around or undoing that reorganisation. One sad constant in the period is the continuation of Inquiries into failings in the NHS. The chapter concludes with an assessment of the ‘birthday present’ of increased funding associated with the NHS’ 70th anniversary, and some thoughts of the outlook of things to come. While the increased funding is welcome, it is unlikely to have the promised ‘transformatory’ effect because it is less than the NHS’ historical rate of funding increase; it includes promises that have been made in the past but have not been delivered, and excludes wider elements of health-related activity and social care. If life is to begin at 70 for the NHS, futures birthday presents for its 75th or 80th birthday must include greater integration with social care, perhaps a phoenix-like transformation into a National Health and Social Care Service.

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After years of neoliberal restructuring of social welfare, families are under pressure to act more strategically in absorbing the ever-increasing social risks and costs associated with social reproduction. Thus, we consider it imperative to expand our theoretical understanding of the family as a socio-economic actor whose agency extends beyond the realm of care provision. Drawing upon Karl Polanyi’s work on the variety of moral rationalities of economic action and upon critical realist sociological literature on the family as a relational subject this chapter conceptualizes the family as a collective socio-economic actor that deploys a portfolio of moral ‘rationales’ and practices (householding, reciprocity, redistribution and market exchange) to enhance the welfare of its members. We conclude by arguing for a new research agenda that treats the terrain of family’s collective agency as a separate level of analysis, where intersections of class, racial, gender and generational inequalities can be re-imagined in studying how different welfare regimes institutionalize the conditions for families to act as socio-economic agents.

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Consideration of pension financialisation in recent years has focused on the rise of defined contribution pensions, highlighting the greater level of individualised interaction this has encouraged between citizens and the financial sector. This development has generally been seen as unequivocally neo-liberal, complementary to retrenching reforms replacing private provision for public. This chapter, in contrast, argues for a less rigid, more fluid understanding of UK pension financialisation, one that has entailed the interaction of financialising and progressive social protection agendas in a politics more diverse and negotiated than proposed in the current literature. The result in 2019 is a UK public-private pension mix under which at least some traditional social protection objectives are met through social regulation rather than public provision. To emphasise the continuing role for agents in today’s system, the paper finishes by proposing two ambitious, but feasible, regulatory reforms designed to enhance the system’s socially protective features.

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The ‘Air Jamaica generation’ of migrants to the UK over the past 30 years has received less political and scholarly attention than the so-called Windrush generation. Children of this generation are often invisible in social policy discussions because they lack the legal right to paid employment, and are subject to the no recourse to public funds (NRPF) rule. This excludes them from accessing welfare provision, including most social security benefits, council housing and homelessness assistance. This chapter examines support under section 17 of the Children Act 1989, one of the few welfare entitlements which children and families with NRPF retain, arguing that, without access to mainstream social security, section 17 is an inadequate safety net to prevent poverty. The chapter concludes that this is rooted in discriminatory legislation and policy, resulting in situations which, while structural in cause, would be viewed as neglectful if perpetrated by a parent or carer.

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In his first annual speech to parliament in 2013, Dutch King Willem-Alexander announced the end of the era of the welfare state and proclaimed the Participation Society. He stated that the process of individualization, combined with the need to reduce the government’s budget deficit leads “to a slow transition of the classical welfare state into a participation society. Everyone who is able to do so, is asked to take responsibility for his or her own life and environment”. This shift towards a participation society is not unique for the Netherlands. Many European countries have experience reforms of their welfare states that limit the responsibility of the state and increases the responsibility of individual citizens. This chapter discusses the backgrounds of Dutch Participation Society in the political discourse, and analyses how and to what extent the ideas of the Participation Society have actually been translated into the content of social policies, their implementation and their consequences.

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This article discusses the notion of a ‘lump of labour fallacy’ used since the end of the nineteenth century and more strongly over the recent period in order to criticise the idea that the number of jobs in an economy is fixed. Examining the recent literature using this notion, the article shows that the lump of labour fallacy is more often used as an assumption rather than examined in-depth. Despite a lack of empirical evidence, it became a key argument in the British debate, used, for instance, to justify an increase in the retirement age. From a critical point of view, the article concludes that an in-depth evaluation of the way the number of jobs varies still needs to be done, looking particularly at the evolution of working time.

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