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  • Author or Editor: Peter Dwyer x
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A principle of welfare conditionality asserts that eligibility to basic, publicly provided, welfare benefits and services should be dependent on an individual first agreeing to meet particular compulsory responsibilities or patterns of behaviour. Drawing on data generated in 55 semi structured interviews, this chapter explores the competing normative/ethical frameworks that policy stakeholders use to justify their support for, or opposition to, the welfare conditionality that is now embedded in UK social benefit policy. Despite certain reservations about its ongoing, many policy stakeholders routinely support conditionality within social security systems through a combination of contractual and paternalistic ethical frameworks. The relative lack of narratives which assert entitlement to social security based on human rights or citizenship status is striking. It is concluded that the highly conditional, contractual/paternalistic vision of social security endorsed by the majority of policy stakeholders interviewed is incompatible with the Republican theories of non-domination.

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Implementation and Effects
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This edited collection considers how conditional welfare policies and services are implemented and experienced by a diverse range of welfare service users across a range of UK policy domains including social security, homelessness, migration and criminal justice.

The book showcases the insights and findings of a series of distinct, independent studies undertaken by early career researchers associated with the ESRC funded Welfare Conditionality project. Each chapter presents a new empirical analysis of data generated in fieldwork conducted with practitioners charged with interpreting and delivering policy, and welfare service users who are at the sharp end of welfare services shaped by behavioural conditionality.

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This edited collection considers how conditional welfare policies and services are implemented and experienced by a diverse range of welfare service users across a range of UK policy domains including social security, homelessness, migration and criminal justice. The book showcases the insights and findings of a series of distinct, independent studies undertaken by early career researchers associated with the ESRC funded Welfare Conditionality project. Each chapter presents a new empirical analysis of data generated in fieldwork conducted with practitioners charged with interpreting and delivering policy, and welfare service users who are at the sharp end of welfare services shaped by behavioural conditionality.

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Author:

This edited collection considers how conditional welfare policies and services are implemented and experienced by a diverse range of welfare service users across a range of UK policy domains including social security, homelessness, migration and criminal justice. The book showcases the insights and findings of a series of distinct, independent studies undertaken by early career researchers associated with the ESRC funded Welfare Conditionality project. Each chapter presents a new empirical analysis of data generated in fieldwork conducted with practitioners charged with interpreting and delivering policy, and welfare service users who are at the sharp end of welfare services shaped by behavioural conditionality.

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This chapter shows how the evil giant of ‘idleness’ has returned in the political debate, but with new features. In the current age, the welfare state is no longer considered as a solution for idleness, it is also assumed to cause idleness. This chapter shows how T.H. Marshall’s notion of social citizenship in which largely unconditional, de-commodified social rights have been replaced by a system of behavioural conditions and sanctions in different domains of the welfare state. The main focus of this paper is on conditionality in social security benefits, housing and homelessness. The chapter shows an intriguing picture of how the twenty-first century welfare state is concerned with regulating individual behaviour.

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This chapter focuses on the rights and responsibilities of disabled people in the UK and the ways in which their rights to work and social security benefits have been subject to contestation and redefinition, particularly since the introduction of Employment and Support Allowance in 2008. In the past, both governments and citizens generally tended to support the claims of long-term sick and disabled people to social security benefits for two reasons. First, because disabled people fitted commonly held views about a legitimate need for provision of financial support and care through the public welfare system. Second, because the cause of their inactivity in the paid labour market was seen by many as being beyond their control. Disabled people have long challenged such discriminatory views and demanded the eradication of disabling attitudes and environments, so that they can realise effective rights to paid employment. Similarly, criticisms of the disabling welfare state and the role it has played in the systematic and entrenched social exclusion of disabled people in respect of their rights to work and welfare must be acknowledged.

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This chapter discusses the concepts of agency and dependency in relation to contemporary welfare reform. This chapter is divided into two parts. The first part discusses the ‘third way’ theory and its implications for future welfare provision. In this section, the notions of agency and dependency which are central to theorising are discussed. It is argued that the ways in which these ideas are used and controlled are flawed. The negative impact of welfare policy that over-prioritises the ‘active welfare subject’ while simultaneously understating the significance of continuing social divisions are also discussed in this section. The second part of the chapter draws on the two recently completed qualitative studies with different groups of welfare service users. It also considers the ways in which users themselves seek to legitimise their own claims to public welfare, while at the same time justifying the exclusion of other groups or individuals from collective support.

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This chapter utilises the work of Hall (1993) and 6 and Peck (2004) to explore welfare conditionality under New Labour. Hall’s (1993) discussion of policy learning and paradigm shift is useful for analysing the wider importance of the conditional welfare state that has been mapped out by the Blair administrations. His discussion of three key policy variables (that is, goals, instruments, and settings) provides a useful way for considering the wider significance and long-term impact of New Labour’s welfare reforms. Likewise, consideration of 6 and Peck’s (2004) work highlights that several elements of New Labour’s ‘modernisation’ agenda are also relevant here.

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Contesting social citizenship
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Government is currently committed to radical reform of the welfare system underpinning social citizenship in Britain. Welfare rights and responsibilities is a response to this, focusing on welfare reform and citizenship. Specifically it explores three issues central to citizenship’s social element: provision, membership and the link between welfare rights and responsibilities(conditionality).

Part 1 discusses competing philosophical, political and academic perspectives on citizenship and welfare. Part 2 then moves discussions about social citizenship away from the purely theoretical level, allowing the practical concerns of citizens (particularly those at the sharp end of public provision) to become an integral part of current debates concerning citizenship and welfare. The author gives voice to the ‘ordinary’ citizens who actually make use of welfare services.

The book offers an accessible overview of contemporary debates about the contested concepts of citizenship and welfare, linking them to recent developments and discussions about the new welfare settlement and values that underpin it. It combines relevant debates within political philosophy, social policy and sociology that relate to social citizenship with recent policy developments.

Welfare rights and responsibilities allows the presently marginalised voices of welfare service users to become a valued element in contemporary debates about the extent of social citizenship and the reform of the welfare state. It is therefore important reading for students and teachers of social policy, sociology and politics. It will further appeal to a wider audience of policy makers and professional social workers with an interest in welfare reform/service users accounts.

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This book explores some of the debates about citizenship and welfare. It analyses competing accounts of citizenship’s social element, at both social-scientific and more specifically welfare-service-user levels. To this end, the book draws heavily on a qualitative analysis of ten different focus groups that were purposively sampled according to a number of different criteria (including age, ethnicity, gender, and disability). By drawing extensively on service-user accounts, it hopes to further our understanding of how ordinary citizens view citizenship and welfare in contemporary Britain. Based on the linked concepts of citizenship and welfare, the book considers three key themes: welfare provision, conditionality, and membership. Part 1 examines some ongoing social-science debates concerning welfare and citizenship, including liberalism and communitarianism, while Part 2 discusses the perceptions, insights, and opinions of the respondents who shared their views in the focus groups that formed the empirical fieldwork element which is central to this study.

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