Disciplining the Poor: Neoliberal Paternalism and the Persistent Power of Race
Disciplining the Poor explains the transformation of poverty governance over the past forty years—why it happened, how it works today, and how it affects people. In the process, it clarifies the central role of race in this transformation and develops a more precise account of how race shapes poverty governance in the post–civil rights era. Connecting welfare reform to other policy developments, the authors analyze diverse forms of data to explicate the racialized origins, operations, and consequences of a new mode of poverty governance that is simultaneously neoliberal—grounded in market principles—and paternalist—focused on telling the poor what is best for them. The study traces the process of rolling out the new regime from the federal level, to the state and county level, down to the differences in ways frontline case workers take disciplinary actions in individual cases. The result is a compelling account of how a neoliberal paternalist regime of poverty governance is disciplining the poor today.
... En segundo lugar, se incluyen los principios de gobierno estatal concurrentes para limitar las protecciones del Estado de bienestar e imponer una gobernanza disciplinaria para que los usuarios de los servicios sean responsables individualmente y acepten el trabajo precario (Wacquant, 2009;Soss, 2011). ...
... En su afán por formar sujetos emprendedores y competitivos, el neoliberalismo también debe atender a los problemas de los individuos que interfieren en su capacidad para convertirse en sujetos adecuados (Soss, 2011). Las agencias de servicios sociales han desarrollado e incorporado puntos de referencia de resultados que demuestran ostensiblemente la mejora de los clientes exigida en los contratos de servicios, como en el caso del bienestar infantil (K.A., McEwen, Bloom-Ellis, y Jordan, 2010;Lamothe, 2004), la asistencia pública (Schram S. F., 2010) tratamiento del consumo de sustancias (Schram y Silverman, 2012), servicios de salud mental (Bransford y Bakken, 2003;Farone, 2003;Horton, 2006, la vivienda y los servicios sociales generales. ...
El impacto del Neoliberalismo en el ámbito del trabajo social. Resumen Antecedentes: Diversos estudios realizados a lo largo del tiempo, vienen mencionando los riesgos del impacto del Neoliberalismo en el trabajo social, desde múltiples facetas. Al respecto existe una revisión bibliográfica del impacto del gerencialismo en las organizaciones sociales. Métodos: La revisión bibliográfica se sustenta en la literatura académica obtenida de la base de datos de SCOPUS. Se realiza un proceso de síntesis del conjunto de la literatura citando los aspectos principales que describen el impacto del neoliberalismo en el ámbito del trabajo social. Resultados: La revisión da como resultado un relato entorno la transformación y tensiones existentes en el ámbito del trabajo social y su relación con la ideología Neoliberal. En ella se presentan tensiones estructurales, articuladas por la irrupción de nuevas lógicas de gestión de lo público, la aparición de un mercado público interno, su regulación y el impacto en la identidad, prácticas y ontología profesional. Conclusión: La conclusión, se articula en formato de síntesis, reflexión y propuesta de modelo especifico explicativo del fenómeno. En cuanto a esta, se reflexiona entorno a la necesidad socializar el conocimiento y de realizar pedagogía al respecto. Palabras Clave Trabajo social, Neoliberalismo, Gestión pública, Identidad profesional, Practica profesional, tensiones éticas.
... Critical analyses reach from seeing such youth as scapegoats (Cohen 1972) to approaches interpreting scapegoating of urban male youth as a feature of the transition from a welfare to penal state (Wacquant 2009;Garland 2001;Soss et al. 2011). Containment of the marginalised through punishment and control partake in a neoliberal project. ...
... While they expressed grievance about generalisations by the police, they also accepted that the police did their job, and that crime was crime for the law, even though they had differentiated views. Scholars have shown for the USA how governing the marginalised by punishing was a worked-out state apparatus imposing control and containment on the poor (Wacquant 2009;Soss et al. 2011). The symbolic violence of the dominant towards these boys seemed more subtle and structured by dispositions of the youth and members of the dominant white Berlin circles, including all the left, inclusive, well-intended individuals (also Blokland 2012). ...
Urban security policies tend to focus on prevention or crime’s relation to safety. Crime prevention literature often suggests the importance of urban design for social control. Generally the belief is strong that control and interventions, of public or state, will reduce crime and enhance security. Yet correlations between crime rates and experienced safety are weak at best. Others emphasize the importance of governance of crime and behaviour defined as undesirable, or argue that the welfare state becomes a penal state, containing the marginalized through policing. Less common are studies of the positionality of those often hold publically responsible for crime: male urban youth in inner cities. While some of their criminalized behaviour acquires high visibility, their positions and perspectives remain invisible. How crime prevention, definitions of crime and safety and urban insecurity are experienced in the daily practices of urban youth in two estates in Berlin, Germany is the empirical focus for our attempt to theorize ‘unsafety’ discourse as symbolic violence.
... The racial and gender profile of those subjected to punitive reforms consequently also differ. Wacquant (2014) argues that the 'taint of blackness' was central to US workfare reform (confirmed bySoss et al., 2011), because it was black mothers claiming social assistance who were criminalised. However, the initial punitive turn in the British case mainly affected working-class white men – signalling an attack on class, although in the last decade these strategies have been applied to women as lone parents and to disabled people. ...
... Thus, Britain can be considered as having a previous record of largescale disciplinary social security reform, rather than simply being a contemporary US emulator. Previous US literature (Marwell, 2016;Soss et al., 2011) has presented new governance reforms as a challenge to Wacquant's (2009) 'outdated' conception of the state. However, in the British case, more so than any other international example, Wacquant's presentation of a strong central state is warranted, since large-scale organisational reform, processes of marketization, de/re-centralisation, devolution and new managerialism have developed in ways that have retained and even strengthened central control over social security and employment services. ...
British policy-makers have increasingly sought to intensify and extend welfare conditionality. A distinctly more punitive turn was taken in 2012 to re-orientate the whole social security and employment services system to combine harsh sanctions with minimal mandatory support in order to prioritise moving individuals ‘off benefit and into work’ with the primary aim of reducing costs. This article questions the extent to which these changes can be explained by Wacquant’s (2009) theory of the ‘centaur state’ (a neoliberal head on an authoritarian body), which sees poverty criminalised via the advance of workfare. We present evidence of an authoritarian approach to unemployment, involving dramatic use of strategies of surveillance (via new paternalist tools like the Claimant Commitment and the Universal Jobmatch panopticon), sanction and deterrence. This shift has replaced job match support with mandatory digital self-help, coercion and punishment. In relation to Work Programme providers, there is a contrasting liberal approach permitting high discretion in service design. This article makes a significant original contribution to the field by demonstrating that Wacquant’s analysis of ‘workfare’ is broadly applicable to the British case and its reliance on a centralised model of state action is truer in the British case than the US. However, we establish that the character of British reform is somewhat different: less ‘new’ (challenging the time-tethered interpretation that welfare reform is a uniquely neoliberal product of late modernity) and more broadly applied to ‘core’ workers, including working-class white men with earned entitlement, rather than peripheral workers.
... PRWORA ended Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and created Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) (Handler, 2003;Neubeck and Cazenave, 2001). These reform policies drew on neoliberal ideals, wherein the state becomes involved in promoting market values such as personal responsibility and work ethic, by encouraging welfare recipients to enter the work force and attributing inability to do so to personal deficiencies (Soss et al., 2011). This is reflected in the major changes to cash assistance, which include the creation of work requirements, time limits, and family caps (Hays, 2003;Neubeck and Cazenave, 2001). ...
... Furthermore, in discussing managing childcare programs managers sometimes criticized mothers for doing things that would be in their children's best interest – such as being reluctant to leave children at just any daycare center or taking children to the doctor – if the managers felt that it would detract from mothers' work participation. As such, 'managing childcare' appears to emphasize neoliberal work values and goals (Soss et al., 2011) over improving families' lives. Finally, the actions that program managers suggest welfare clients take to meet the expectations that they (program managers) have for clients are not always realistic. ...
Dominant ideologies about poverty in the USA draw on personal responsibility and beliefs that a ‘culture of poverty’ creates and reproduces inequality. As the primary recipients of welfare are single mothers, discourses surrounding welfare are also influenced by dominant ideologies about mothering, namely intensive mothering. Yet, given the centrality of resources to intensive mothering, mothers on welfare are often precluded from enacting this type of parenting. In this paper, I conduct a critical discourse analysis of 69 interviews with Ohio Works First (USA) program managers to examine how welfare program managers talk about and evaluate their clients’ mothering. My findings suggest three themes regarding expectations and evaluations of clients’ mothering: (a) enacting child-centered mothering, (b) breaking out of the ‘culture of poverty’ and (c) (mis)managing childcare.
... Previous worries about alleviating poverty and encouraging laziness or high fertility can now be shown, and the pellagra example helps, to be wrong-better diet cures laziness and poor or even criminal behaviour patterns and may decrease fertility (to the point it becomes a concern as the demographic dividend from more young people dissipates and immigration can become a necessity)  (Figure 12). The original Neolithic move to a more cereal based diet may have been a "Faustian" bargain increasing fertility and populations that could develop divisions of labour but at the expense of poorer health and human capital for some-a bargain we should recognise and take active steps to avoid. ...
North-South variation in the supply of meat has always been present. Sharing of meat was the rule but in the multi-centric Neolithic revolution when domestication of animals and plants co-evolved class differences became pronounced-aristocrats and inferior proletariats and “lesser breeds and lower orders” started to form. The distribution of natural domesticates was uneven with the near-east and a temperate band across Europe well off compared with Africa and the Americas. The Columbian exchange changed this as meat became abundant in the New World who then exported to Europe. Wars, expropriations and genocides were over the meat supply and acquiring pastureland or water. Colonial plantation profits paid for meat imports from “settler colonies” indigenous or poor peoples on low meat pro-pellagrous diets were considered inferior whatever their colour and had poorer health and life expectancy. Attempts to correct hunger in the resultant ramshackle “Third world” concentrated on calories fuelling population booms and busts and delaying demographic, epidemiological and economic transitions. High meat variances are narrowing in China and Asia but need help elsewhere in the South. Dangers of not developing with a safe and sufficient meat supply include the emergence of zoonoses and mass migration. Reparations, rehabilitation and rejuvenation should concentrate on reconstituting a meat commons giving us a shot at redemption and survival.
... For example, Reagan's 'welfare queen' characterization is memorable but occurred in a broader historical characterization of welfare recipients that preceded Reagan, making it difficult to separate out the effects of this specific characterization. Furthermore, tropes about the undeserving poor are so prevalent in many settings that it is difficult to assert if any particular political framing makes much of a difference (Soss et al. 2011). Deservingness messaging often coincides with other changes in the life situations of welfare recipients. ...
Politicians engage in, and the media amplifies, social constructions of welfare recipients as undeserving. Such messaging seeks to influence mass public opinion, but what are the effects on the target population receiving welfare benefits? We test if deservingness messaging affects welfare recipients' mental health. To do so, we exploit a quasi-experiment entailing a dramatic shift in deservingness messaging after a welfare recipient in Denmark became the subject of a national debate, utilizing detailed administrative data on the ensuing consumption of antidepressants by other welfare recipients. We find evidence that welfare recipients experienced worse mental health outcomes after being exposed to deservingness messaging, reflected in a 1.2-percentage-point increase in the use of antidepressants in the weeks following the airing of a critical interview. Deservingness messaging particularly affected more vulnerable groups who had a history of mental health problems.
... El porcentaje de personas en prisión y que no han recibido sentencia es importante porque da cuenta del uso desmedido de la prisión preventiva y de la lentitud del proceso penal, es un indicador que deja ver la dilación con la cual el sistema penal puede resolver si la persona es o no culpable pero mientras tanto ya vive en encierro. Por otro lado, el dato de la escolaridad se considera un elemento para mostrar que quienes están en la cárcel son sujetos previamente seleccionados con parámetros de clase social y origen etnorracial (Calveiro 2014, Wacquant 2011, Ariza 2011, Soss et al. 2011, Azaola y Bergman 2007, a quienes se les culpa por ser pobres y se les contiene mediante el encierro, individualizando su situación, sus actos, y el castigo que se les propina se transforma en "un problema político, enraizado en la desigualdad económica e inseguridad social, en un problema de criminalidad" (Wacquant 2006, 61). ...
El objetivo de este artículo es mostrar los hallazgos que identificamos a partir de una estrategia de intervención implementada desde trabajo social con Maru, que en su entorno cotidiano dentro del Centro Femenil de Reinserción Social es tratada como una mujer con demencia, para mostrar cómo se involucró activamente con el equipo de trabajo coordinado por mí y compuesto por 15 estudiantes del último año de la licenciatura en trabajo social, quienes visitamos el centro durante 2019. Como resultado de esta experiencia debatiré algunas nociones médicas sobre la demencia, pues no basta la perspectiva médica para el abordaje del sufrimiento mental (Galende 2015). A partir de esta estrategia identificamos la relevancia de aproximaciones psicosociales y grupales para comprender la discapacidad psicosocial y favorecer cambios significativos en una mujer con demencia. También la estrategia nos permitió identificar las formas en que la institución penitenciaria refuerza una feminidad específica. Detallaré lo observado y vivido con Maru en tres ejes: apariencia y cuidado, comunicación gestual y etiqueta social, y memoria. Agradezco infinitamente al Dr. Iván Eliab Gómez-Aguilar por su atenta y crítica lectura de este trabajo.
... Alongside this, there is growing body of scholarship that examines the racialised effects of neoliberalism (Goldberg 2002, Winant 2004, Razack 2008, Soss et al. 2011, particularly in the context of indigenous peoples (Howard-Wagner 2006, 2010b, Moreton-Robinson 2009. This is also taken up by authors within this collection, such as Shelley Bielefeld and Alex Page. ...
... Since the 1980s, neoliberalism, in the context of globalization and the rising influence of international organizations such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, has increasingly permeated diverse socio-political contexts and become a pervasive, normative, and largely invisible force in the global landscape. In recent years, neoliberalism has been critiqued for creating increased conditions of vulnerability for particular population groups within societies as well as globally resulting in increased social injustices and health inequities[9,13,14]. In alignment with individually focused neoliberal rationality, biomedicine emphasizes health, illness, and disability as individual experiences. ...
Background: Perspectives that individualize occupation are poorly aligned with socially responsive and transformative occupation-focused research, education, and practice. Their predominant use in occupational therapy risks the perpetuation, rather than resolution, of occupational inequities. Aim: In this paper, we problematize taken-for-granted individualistic analyses of occupation and illustrate how critical theoretical perspectives can reveal the ways in which structural factors beyond an individual’s immediate control and environment shape occupational possibilities and occupational engagement. Method: Using a critically reflexive approach, we draw on three distinct qualitative research studies to examine the potential of critical theorizing for expanding beyond a reliance on individualistic analyses and practices. Results: Our studies highlight the importance of addressing the socio-historical and political contexts of occupation and demonstrate the contribution of critical perspectives to socially responsive occupational therapy. Conclusion and significance: In expanding beyond individualistic analyses of occupation, critical perspectives advance research and practices towards addressing socio-political mediators of occupational engagement and equity.
... Although some argue that the transition to neoliberalism was motivated by a genuine interest in improving schools through standards and accountability (Conley, 2003), others argue that the focus on school, as opposed to society, legitimized divestment from non-White communities (Kantor & Lowe, 2006). For scholars working from a critical race perspective, the neoliberal emphasis on high-stakes accountability was also part of a transition from social assistance to policies based on punitive or paternalistic control (see Soss, Fording, & Schram, 2011;Wacquant, 2009). ...
This paper situates recent changes in educational policymaking, especially the increased use of the ballot initiative, within larger historical trends related to democratic engagement in policy development. I conduct an integrative literature review that combines conceptual analyses with findings from empirical investigations into new policymaking tactics and their influence on policy development. Specifically, I explore (a) the discourses justifying policy priorities over time, and (b) the role of democratic engagement in dominant modes of policymaking. I demonstrate that various sources combine to tell a troubling story about the longstanding exclusion of the public from policymaking regarding its public schools. Further, I argue that, perhaps paradoxically, the increased use of the ballot initiative only exacerbates this trend. Ultimately, I use results from the reviewed research to ask if there is a better way to make policy, one that aspires to higher democratic ideals. Abstract This paper situates recent changes in educational policymaking, especially the increased use of the ballot initiative, within larger historical trends related to democratic engagement in policy development. I conduct an integrative literature review that combines conceptual analyses with findings from empirical investigations into new policymaking tactics and their influence on policy development. Specifically, I explore (a) the discourses justifying policy priorities over time, and (b) the role of democratic engagement in dominant modes of policymaking. I demonstrate that various sources combine to tell a troubling story about the longstanding exclusion of the public from policymaking regarding its public schools. Further, I argue that, perhaps paradoxically, the increased use of the ballot initiative only exacerbates this trend. Ultimately, I use results from the reviewed research to ask if there is a better way to make policy, one that aspires to higher democratic ideals.
... Such frameworks exclude occupations such as resource seeking because those occupations may appear to foster dependency and reinforce a lack of self-sufficiency (as defined by Hong, Sheriff, & Naeger, 2009). However, drawing on increased attention to the sociopolitical shaping of occupation (Angell, 2014;Galvaan, 2015;Laliberte Rudman, 2014), occupational therapy practitioners can reframe resource seeking as an occupation that results from policies and economic circumstances (Soss, Fording, & Schram, 2011) rather than from self-sufficiency failures. Occupational therapy practitioners can also address resource seeking as part of everyday occupational justice practices (Bailliard & Aldrich, 2016). ...
Occupational therapists and occupational scientists are committed to generating and using knowledge about occupation, but Western middle-class social norms regarding particular ways of doing have limited explorations of survival occupations. This article provides empirical evidence of the ways in which resource seeking constitutes an occupational response to situations of uncertain survival. Resource seeking includes a range of activities outside formal employment that aim to meet basic needs. On the basis of findings from 2 ethnographic studies, we critique the presumption of survival in guiding occupational therapy documents and the accompanying failure to recognize occupations that seem at odds with self-sufficiency. We argue that failing to name resource seeking in occupational therapy documents risks alignment with social, political, and economic trends that foster occupational injustices. If occupational therapists truly aim to meet society's occupational needs, they must ensure that professional documents and discourses reflect the experiences of all people in society.
... As already noted, an economic paradigm in Nigeria is simply tailored to the neo-classical school which paternalistically prescribes a universal idea of 'the good' for every society. 71 The theory suggests that policies should be based on measurable ideals and advocates against nonmeasurable standards as the basis for formulating economic policies. 72 The preferred measurable metrics accepted by many proponents of this school of thoughts are money and wealth (unlike other standards such as happiness, preference, freedom and so forth). ...
Many hardworking people from unprivileged backgrounds are automatically disadvantaged simply because they lack access to financial capital. Observably, microfinance provides a way out of the poverty trap if it is deployed appropriately. Nigeria, like many other developing countries, has thus taken up the challenge of developing inclusive microfinancing initiatives. In the country, funding for small-scale businesses is available from both the government and the private sector. Unfortunately, the nature and conditions of the schemes fail to meet the sensitivities of a substantial group who would otherwise have been eligible for the grants and loans. The practical implication is that such group would be twice excluded from the financial system. These potentially excluded groups are those poor Muslims who might desire funding but are unable to benefit from the government schemes because the loan conditions contradict their faith. It is argued that the effect of the status quo is that it breeds further inequality and inequity and could even amount to outright (or indirect) discrimination. This contention is substantiated through constitutional analysis and also in light of a contemporary economic welfare theory – the Capability Approach. The article argues that this marginalized group has a right to Islamic microfinance. This right, it is further contended, places justiciable (positive and negative) duty on the government. It, therefore, calls that Islamic microfinance should forthwith be embedded into the fabric of public governance in the country. The article demonstrates the exclusionary problem by analysing some of the existing schemes, and it proffers alternative sharia-compliant conditions for existing schemes. Keywords: Islamic microfinance; social development, distributive justice; indirect discrimination; constitutional law/human right, capability approach
... What is less clear, however, is the types of support and resources state official are prone to commit to poor communities and why. Many (Brown, 2006;Rose, 1996;Soss et al., 2011) trace how neoliberal statecraft has prompted transformations in shared conceptions of " communities, " and enjoined citizens to view the provision of essential social services as their own individual responsibility, rather than the citizenry's collective entitlements. One main effect of the devolution of crime control duties has been a change in what safety services communities expect and request from the government. ...
... Aid recipients have been increasingly subjected to drug testing, finger printing, and questioning regarding sexual relations." 69 Changes in welfare policy, according to Soss et al., provide a good illustration of the tendency of neoliberalism to marketize the notion of citizenship, that is, to render it as a contractual arrangement for which the client is obliged to "give" something in return. This idea can be seen to follow directly from neoliberal assumptions about the importance of governing individuals by giving them the capacity to govern themselves. ...
My essay argues that neoliberal forms of government emerged through the shifting political trajectory of the therapeutic ethos in the postwar period in Anglo-American societies. In the postwar era, the therapeutic ethos attracted the attention of conservative cultural critics who described it as a destructive force on communal obligation. Initially, the therapeutic ethos appeared to align naturally with New Left ideas of democratization in the workplace and private sphere. However, I argue that the New Right was subsequently able to sever the therapeutic ethos from its alignment with social democratization by imbuing it with an alternative set of meanings centered on the ideas of market freedom and the entrepreneur. The result was the construction of the new, neoliberal forms of power, which, I argue, take the form of the management of subjectivity. Finally, I outline the two major social pathologies of the neoliberal era, namely, the consequences of its contractualized notion of citizenship and the explosion of social inequality, both of which are traceable to the influence of therapeutic notions of the self.
A defining feature of U.K. welfare reform since 2010 has been the concerted move towards greater compulsion and sanctioning, which has been interpreted by some social policy scholars as punitive and cruel. In this article, we borrow concepts from criminology and sociology to develop new interpretations of welfare conditionality. Based on data from a major Economic and Social Research Council‐funded qualitative longitudinal study (2014–2019), we document the suffering that unemployed claimants experienced because of harsh conditionality. We find that punitive welfare conditionality often caused symbolic and material suffering and sometimes had life‐threatening effects. We argue that a wide range of suffering induced by welfare conditionality can be understood as ‘social abuse’, including the demoralisation of the futile job‐search treadwheel and the self‐administered surveillance of the Universal Jobmatch panopticon. We identify a range of active claimant responses to state perpetrated harm, including acquiescence, adaptation, resistance, and disengagement. We conclude that punitive post‐2010 unemployment correction can be seen as a reinvention of failed historic forms of punishment for offenders.
Teachers unions are notorious figures in state politics, asserting influence over elections and education policy with their large memberships and well‐funded PACs. Nonetheless, during the Great Recession Republican‐controlled state governments repeatedly clashed with teachers unions over their members’ compensation and collective bargaining (CB) rights. Conversely, public safety officers were less frequently targeted—and in some cases explicitly shielded—from CB conflicts. Is this because teachers support Democrats, while cops support Republicans? I evaluate this proposition considering state reform patterns and union partisan campaign donations.
This article analyses the history of bail in the United States in an effort to situate this institution within the general narrative of criminal justice transformation during the 19th and 20th Centuries. We identify core characteristics of American bail (commercialisation, risk assessment, and community supervision) that developed relatively early in the institution's history. Although the structure and processes of American bail was reshaped considerably over time, the spread of neoconservative and neoliberal rationalities did not radically transform the core identity of the institution. Instead, these political logics had a 'tinting effect' on bail, intensifying and altering that which already existed. As such, we frame the case of bail not as a flip from the 'old' to the 'new' penology, but rather of the fusing and reshaping as old practices with new goals, justifications,and methods.
What are the basic contours of a political sociology of violence at the urban margins? Drawing on past and current ethnographic research in a poor area of Buenos Aires, this article calls for systematic research of the points of contact (overt and covert) between agents of the state and the poor. We argue that as part and parcel of the illicit drug trade, clandestine interventions of the state intensify interpersonal violence.
Common markers of social class include income, wealth, education and family background. Though these capture staple pedestrian elements of class, they understate something substantial – social class is produced by political experiences. Building on this observation, I argue that social class is constructed and reinforced via political institutions that differentially affect the daily experiences and life trajectories of Americans. Viewing class through this lens (instead of more simply as a function of income or education) enables clarity on two critical features of the American political system: (1) its deeply racialized institutional practices (2) its dual inclusionary/exclusionary governance structures. Most broadly, this essay pushes us beyond a view of class as a set of variables that affect political outcomes and towards inquiry into the ways that political institutions produce class. Ultimately, such a conceptual pivot illuminates additional pathways for transforming economic and political relations in the United States.
Economic sanctions have gained more political legitimacy and are being more widely used as a tool to improve the willingness of unemployed welfare recipients to participate in activities within the framework of active labour market policy (ALMP). The focus of this article is the use of economic sanctions on cash benefit recipients in Denmark, Quantitative analyses show a substantial increase in the use of economic sanctions in Denmark, including sanctions on those who are categorised as having problems in addition to unemployment. In this article we will direct our attention to responses from both the organisational and individual level regarding the implementation of sanctions. Empirical material consists of interviews with managers and frontline social workers in municipalities with a high number of sanctions. We argue that organisations matter in shaping street-level behaviour, resulting in substantial differences in the use of sanctions from one municipality to another.
For the past six years successive UK governments in England have introduced reforms intended to usher in less aggregated, top-down, bureaucratically overloaded models of service delivery. Yet the ‘hollowing out’ of local government has not resulted in less bureaucracy on the ground or less regulation from above, nor has it diminished hierarchy as an organising principle of education governance. Monopolies and monopolistic practices dominated by powerful bureaucracies and professional groups persist, albeit realised through the involvement of new actors and organisations from business and philanthropy. In this paper I adopt a governmentality perspective to explore the political significance of large multi-academy trusts (MATs) – private sponsors contracted by central government to run publicly funded schools – to the generation of new scalar hierarchies and accountability infrastructures that assist in bringing the gaze of government to bear upon the actions of schools that are otherwise less visible under local government management.
The intent of this chapter is to present a critical race policy perspective on advocacy leadership exemplified by a group of African American teachers, parents and community members in one Midwestern community and their adjacent school districts. For the most part, the African Americans in this particular community believed in the promise of desegregation and equal educational opportunity would be achieved in due time. However, faith and trust in that promise has slowly eroded over subsequent generations of African American families whose children who have gone to these schools, and a desegregation plan that moved away from equal educational opportunity toward a neoliberal agenda for school improvement though measures of accountability. Our project’s significance stems from the interview data conducted with these advocates, and using critical race theory as a methodological lens to present critical race policy counternarratives about what these African American community activists have done to advocate for the educational well-being of African American students in this particular community. The African American voices inside this particular school district point to ways school leadership can be more broadly defined through the actions of teachers, parents and community leaders. They acted as advocates for African American student equity and seek to hold the school district accountable against the failed desegregation and neoliberal agenda that in reality seeks to work against the very students these policies support to leave no child behind.
Identifying neoliberal capitalism as an extension and radical transformation of war capitalism, Rogers-Vaughn posits neoliberalization as a highly efficient regime for the global production of suffering and subsequent privatization of death and violence. Rogers-Vaughn explores how contemporary capitalism exacerbates the sufferings of entire populations of people, and shapes the ways we attend to, ignore, or legitimate suffering. Neoliberalization, he concludes, is creating a new third order of suffering that both coexists with and transforms first- and second-order suffering, such that their present forms are more difficult to recognize and address. Rogers-Vaughn draws on Dany-Robert Dufour’s notions of deinstitutionalization, desymbolization, and desubjectivation to demonstrate the weakening and erosion of deep symbols and words of power, and how this erosion compromises human capacity for narration and meaning-making.
This article examines the contradictory relationship between neoliberalism and the politics of the far-right. It seeks to identify and explain the divergence of the ‘economic’ and the social/cultural spheres under neoliberalism (notably in articulations of race and class and the ‘politics of whiteness’) and how such developments play out in the politics of the contemporary far-right. We also seek to examine the degree to which the politics of the far-right pose problems for the consolidation and long-term stabilization of neoliberalism, through acting as a populist source of pressure on the conservative-right and tapping into sources of alienation amongst déclassé social layers. Finally, we locate the politics of the far-right within the broader atrophying of political representation and accountability of the neoliberal era with respect to the institutional and legal organization of neoliberalism at the international level, as most obviously highlighted in the ongoing crisis of the EU and Eurozone.
Lipsky’s Street‐Level Bureaucracy (1980) led to a major paradigm shift in the study of public administration and bureaucracy. It identified discretion by frontline workers as a critical issue in the study of street-level bureaucracy. Chinese scholars have since 2000 joined research on street-level bureaucracy. Some reviews of the English literature on street-level bureaucracy have been published in China. This paper discusses some major issues in research on street-level discretion in the West, drawing on Hupe and Buffat (Public Manag Rev 16(4):548–569, 2014); Maynard‐Moody and Portillo (The Oxford handbook of American bureaucracy. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 255–277, 2010); Portillo and Rudes (Annu Rev Law Soc Sci 10:321–334, 2014). Compared with the Chinese reviews noted above, this paper is a more substantial and updated summary and assessment of the literature on street-level discretion. It also raises some issues for future research on frontline discretion in China.
In this introduction to the special issue on the persistent significance of neoliberalism to the study of sexuality and social policy, the guest editors survey the ongoing debates about anti-neoliberal theory, which they term "the neoliberalism wars." They conclude that anti-neoliberal theory remains an important framework for critiquing and intervening in the various ways in which neoliberal policies and ideologies affect sexuality and intersecting dimensions of inequality. While they resist calls for neoliberalism's abandonment in critical sexualities scholarship, they also recognize the need for continued rigor, specificity, and precision in the concept's application. They introduce the manuscripts in the special issue as exemplary of research that seeks a stronger, intersectional understanding of neoliberalism's role in the co-production of sexualities and inequalities.
In August of 1999, not too long before narratives of sex trafficking began to dominate prostitution policy debates, the residents of a small town in Nevada debated closing the city’s legal brothels. Citizens crowded the hearing hall, holding signs about protecting family and community values. But instead of opposing prostitution, as one might have expected, most public commenters echoed a sign that read, “Pro Family, Pro Prostitution.” Drawing on an analysis of the testimony of the 51 citizens in attendance at that public hearing and ethnographic data gathered in four visits to Evenheart over a 1-year period, this paper examines the arguments that framed support for, and opposition to, legal prostitution at this critical historic juncture. The research finds important differences in the ways particular neoliberal discourses can be deployed to the wide range of sexual, gender, and relationship values that constitute heterosexuality. Both supporters and opponents drew on market logics—defined for purposes of this paper as a neoliberal individualism and economic rationality of free trade, scarcity, competition, and self-regulation—as well as on discourses of morality and the family, but each side used them in strikingly different ways. Brothel supporters drew on market logics to defend and support individualized family values and a market-driven morality, while brothel opponents deployed market logics that supported conservative heteronormative values and morals. I suggest that these deployments of market logics, particularly among brothel supporters, are instances of “heteroflexibility” in neoliberal governance, that is, flexibility in the various gender, sexual, and relationship norms that collectively make up heterosexuality as an institution. Key to the intensity of heteroflexibility’s challenge to heterosexuality, both then and today, is whether market logics use free choice or protection discourses in the neoliberal governance of sexuality.
The election of the Thatcher government in 1979 is broadly acknowledged as marking a pivotal moment in social and economic history. As most theorists acknowledge, this rise to power was instrumental in ushering in and cementing a neoliberal regime that over the course of 30 years transformed global politics and society. Thatcher’s infamous proclamation, ‘there is no such thing as society … only the individual and his family’, heralded a new age in which economic liberalism came to infuse, shape and contain all aspects of life, including our most intimate spheres of existence. ‘Neoliberalism’ as a term has been put to promiscuous and often reductive use (Clarke 2008; Hall 2011) but few can question the radical assault on social values it is intended to describe. Principles of individual freedom, independence and personal responsibility, stressed alongside a valorisation of the market as the optimal site for maximising human well-being, have become ingrained in everyday common sense (Harvey 2007; Couldry 2011).
Once we have placed the blurred distinction between public and private at the heart of the way it works, and see formalities as lying at the center of its practices, it appears neither as an administrative arrangement nor as an institution, let alone an organizational structure, but as a social form of power. We can now focus on understanding the political dynamics that this process induces and of which it is simultaneously the bearer.
Norms, rules, procedures, and formalities spread across the whole of “society, as such, in its fabric and its depth.”1 To some extent, they constitute the “new spirit” of neoliberalism.2 Before I unpick the logics and the political and social mainsprings of this bureaucratization, and investigate the philosophical principles that underlie this specific process, I would like briefly to indicate some everyday examples that bring out the way it is becoming both more general and more concrete. These examples—more or less trivial and in any case commonplace—do not provide us with an in-depth analysis of each of the fields I focus on, but they do show what, in everyday experience, this neoliberal bureaucratization is actually like.
My article provides a systematic interpretation of the transformation of capitalist society in the neo-liberal era as a form of what Karl Polanyi called ‘cultural catastrophe’. I substantiate this claim by drawing upon Erich Fromm’s theory of social character. Fromm’s notion of social character, I argue, offers a plausible, psychodynamic explanation of the processes of social change and the eventual class composition of neo-liberal society. I argue, further, that Fromm allows us to understand the psychosocial basis of the process that Polanyi calls cultural catastrophe. This requires an elucidation of the major social forces of financialization and emancipation which, I argue, proved to be important formative factors in the emergence of neo-liberal society. The cultural catastrophe of neo-liberalism concerns the working class, whose prevailing social character has become misaligned with the new expectations and requirements of neo-liberal society.
The author argues for the concept of "gentle" neoliberalism to account for how discourse in anti-bullying texts has increasingly presented itself as gentle and kind, while simultaneously reinforcing systems of surveillance and control. Results, based on a grounded theory analysis of 22 anti-bullying books, reveal that the texts generally decoupled bullying from power relations based on sexuality, overlooking homophobia and heteronormativity and marginalizing the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth. Further, findings demonstrate a shift over time in the texts from an explicitly harsh description of the bullies to a seemingly kinder emphasis on reporting and intervening on behalf of the individual being bullied. This shift to interventionist discourse potentially expands mechanisms of control and reinforces inequalities based on race and social class, as bystanders are increasingly held accountable and students are encouraged to report their peers to authority figures. In response to neoliberal anti-bullying discourse, the author argues for scholarship and policy solutions that undermine unequal power structures and yet also oppose surveillance strategies of monitoring, reporting, and intervening.
This chapter examines the ways in which prisoner reentry has transformed the urban landscape and its broader implications as the rehabilitative strategy of choice in the current age. Following broader policy trends, we find prisoner reentry to be a part of a larger process of responsibilization that offloads the responsibility of the state to ensure the social, civic, and political participation of its residents onto third-sector organizations, prisoners’ families, and former prisoners themselves. Tracing these developments, we show how reentry exhibits one way that the state has been reconfigured to manage the urban poor while embedding punishment more deeply within the social body.
In 2008, the American financial system teetered precariously on the brink of a total collapse. This financial crisis signified the monumental failure of a hegemonic configuration in economic, political, and sociocultural relations that coalesced in the second half of the twentieth century. The time period between the late 1960s and mid-1980s witnessed a radical shift characterized by the emergence of a new social formation, delineated in this study as the neoliberal age. Unbeknownst to many, this pernicious neoliberal ideology, which has now been exported globally, was given its initial “test drive” domestically on the backs of countless black Americans. While attention has been given to the traumatic impact of chattel slavery and the Jim Crow era on African Americans,1 insufficient consideration has been given to the traumas black Americans incurred subsequent to the emergence of the neoliberal age in the aftermath of the modern Civil Rights and Black Power movements.2 This chapter introduces the core components of this study. American neoliberalism is identified as an essential interpretive lens for practitioners of pastoral theology, counseling, and care.
The time period between the late 1960s and mid-1980s witnessed the rise of a “market-centered agenda” in domestic and global relations that has ushered in the neoliberal age.1 Neoliberal ideology is grounded in a privileging of the individual, the free market, and the noninterventionist state. Central to neoliberalism is the assumption that individuals’ freedoms are guaranteed by freedom of the market. American neoliberalism is characterized by the fluid movement of capital across regional and national boundaries in a proverbial “race to the bottom.” Here, low-wage local, regional, or national economies attract capital, with jobs subsequently being moved from place to place, “leaving disarray and unemployment where jobs have vanished and dislocations and worker exploitation where those jobs are relocated.”2 Caring effectively for the souls of black folks in the neoliberal age thus requires a historical analysis of the various factors that contributed to its emergence in the aftermath of the modern Civil Rights and Black Power movements.
People who face multiple disadvantages (re: poverty, criminalization, discrimination, addiction, health/mental health, disabilities) make up the majority of the homeless shelter population on a daily basis. This group challenges practitioners and existing service structures, and the author shows how these challenges shape (1) collaboration with “complex-need” clients, (2) triage and case prioritization, and (3) assessments of housing readiness. Pulling from policy and organizational document analysis as well as 20 in-depth interviews with emergency shelter practitioners, the author argues that institutional recognition of people’s “complicated” needs translates into tighter regulation and/or decreased support.
As a paramount concern in development planning, poverty alleviation encompasses a variety of agents and actions, depending on the larger context of organizations and political economy within which it is embedded. Iran has a distinctive constellation of religion, society, and politics. This thesis examines how religion has influenced the ways in which the poor have been helped in Iran since the formation of the (modem) nation-state in the 1870s. Religion has often been considered a monolithic institution that inherently supports or obstructs social policies for the poor. The notion of functional differentiation-and emancipation-of the state from the religious sphere constitutes the conventional understanding of how social policies are to be planned and implemented-a notion contrary to theocratic ideals. There exists a marked disparity between this secular understanding of social policy and the lived reality in many parts of the world, where such policies can generate resistance from their intended recipients, especially when they are considered to disrupt religious ties, imperil religious authority, and undermine traditional sources of social meaning. Therefore, how religion influences social relationships and how religious beliefs can help or hinder the formulating of social policies remain crucial issues. Religion in Iran has affected social policies in varied ways. First, as an organized set of beliefs, religion has invariably cultivated a moral-spiritual discourse to help the needy by motivating state officials who are in charge of social policies. Second, as an institution, religion has established, mediated, and unsettle relationships between the poor and the principal agents of poverty alleviation. Finally, as an instrument, religion has been used by the state to serve populist or security purposes. This thesis shows that if the 'guiding hand' of the state and the 'divine hand' of religious institutions are joined, the impact can be either regressive (particularly for religious minorities) or progressive, depending on a host of variables among which the central one is the historically produced power relationship between the two sets of dominant institutions. Herein lies a central dilemma for development planners: if modernization efforts do not take into account religious sentiments, which are a primary source of meaning for people, such efforts are bound to fail in the long term; and yet, if religious sentiments dominate state-making efforts, it can at best lead to 'charitable efforts' without deep constitutional groundings of the rights of the poor to state resources. Therefore, how to blend state policies and religious beliefs is a crucial issue if both religious extremism and state monopoly are to be avoided in crafting social policies.
Violence against Black bodies in Florida is so widespread that the national #BlackLivesMatter movement was born in the state on the night young Trayvon Martin was killed with impunity. This research investigates the socio-political context in which this violence is both legal and apparently accepted, problematizing the citizenship status of members of the Floridian African-American community—over 23 % of whom cannot vote due to stringent state felony disenfranchisement legislation. This research estimates the effects of this widespread electoral exclusion on Floridian elections and, resultantly, on the legislative realities of the state. We find that the form and extent of felony disenfranchisement in Florida have likely put the Right Party in power, worked to create legislation that is counter to the interests of African-Americans, and ultimately achieved a marginalization of the population so deleterious to its citizenship status as to put into question the worth of its members’ lives.
For people who have just been released from incarceration, the work of getting out and resuming life on the outside often includes numerous institutional contacts. Applying for and maintaining public assistance—cash aid and food stamps, commonly referred to as wel-fare—is a central component of what I call " reentry work. " I argue that discourses around welfare and punishment have perpetuated the erasure of formerly incarcerated women's experiences. Utilizing an institutional ethnographic perspective, I show how the work of applying for and maintaining welfare is organized around a standardized textual discourse of children, and women as caretakers of children. Formerly incarcerated women do not fit easily into such a category, thus they are systematically excluded from the assistance they need. I examine the multiple layers of unrecognized work juggled by these women, and suggest avenues for welfare reform.
This article examines the history and formation of Medicare and Medicaid to determine how America's two major public health insurance programs came to have such vastly different implementation structures. Drawing upon theories of social construction and path dependence, findings show how the programs were set on divergent paths. This article also explores how the intergovernmental nature of Medicaid has promoted inequities, both between programs and among recipients across states. The findings show how social construction can influence the policy tool chosen and how the implementation structure impacts the individuals whom these programs are intended to serve for years to come. Medicaid and Medicare are two of the largest public health insurers in the world, but despite similar mandates and roots in the same legislation, their implementation has been starkly different. The Social Security Amendments
Sustainable development is described as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. People are the ultimate resource to achieving sustainable development. If more focus is placed on improving education, health, and nutrition within a population, this will allow that population to stretch resources further because they could make better use of them. A key concept in human health widely used in the nursing profession is health promotion. Health promotion in children plays an integral role in urban sustainability because they are the future contributors, decision makers, and citizens of the world. Health promotion can only be successful for children if there is a linkage among parents, schools, community organizations, and the child or adolescent. Schools can provide a place for children to receive health promotion opportunities. Health promoting school is a concept that has been advocated as an effective approach to health promotion in schools; yet the concept of health promoting school is not well understood. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to provide an analysis on the concept of the term “health promoting school.”
Between 1980 and 2010 California’s health care policy field shifted from a business-dominated, closed-door pattern of decision making to a more open political arena. Through this process, a wide-ranging and diversely resourced coalition advocating on behalf of beneficiaries became an accepted partner in policymaking. This article examines this transformation, considering its broader implications for the political dynamics of the public-private welfare state and the role of advocacy groups in defending beneficiary interests. We argue that multifaceted coalitions exploit three vulnerabilities of the public-private welfare state, which presents openings for advancing public priorities: 1) diverse and shifting interests, which allow advocates to build broad coalitions that include labor and some providers 2) service gaps that, when publicized, can generate public outrage; and 3) the hybrid institutional form of the public-private welfare state, which can connect service delivery organizations with a broader pro-public coalition.
This article argues that the rhetoric of welfare reform shifts during three specific phases of the Cold War that culminate in the War on Welfare (1980–96), a war that is defined by the emergence of neoliberalism and its roots in the emergence of consumer freedom. I first trace how a war on poverty featured in the U.S. popular imaginary as it was shaped by the media and formulated in public policy. I then turn to how this popular imaginary was crystallized and contested in fictive representations of motherhood and welfare. Claudine (1974) is an early example of the regulatory practices of the welfare state and marks the discursive emergence of the War on Welfare while Sapphire's novel Push (1996) marks the year that massive welfare reform legislation was enacted by the Clinton administration, a signature of neoliberals triumph. Lee Daniel's subsequent film, Precious, an adaptation of “Push” is a reminder that in a so-called post-racial American the welfare queen stereotype is still very present.
Medicaid reimbursements have become a key source of funding for nonprofit social service organizations operating outside the medical care sector, as well as an important tool for states seeking resources to fund social service programs within a devolving safety net. Drawing on unique survey data of more than one thousand nonprofit social service agencies in seven urban and rural communities, this article examines Medicaid funding of nonprofit social service organizations that target programs at working-age, nondisabled adults. We find that about one-quarter of nonprofit service organizations - mostly providers offering substance abuse and mental health treatment in conjunction with other services - report receiving Medicaid reimbursements, although very few are overly reliant on these funds. We also find Medicaid-funded social service nonprofits to be less accessible to residents of high-poverty neighborhoods or areas with concentrations of black or Hispanic residents than to more affluent and white communities. We should expect that the role of Medicaid within the nonprofit social service sector will shift in the next few years, however, as states grapple with persistent budgetary pressures, rising Medicaid costs, and decisions to participate in the Medicaid expansion provisions contained within the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
This article explores how caseworkers are re-constructing disability in the Danish welfare system and disciplining themselves and clients according to the active labour policy paradigm. Combining Foucault's ideas about discipline with Maynard-Moody and Musheno's method of interpreting street-level bureaucrats' stories (Foucault 1977; Maynard-Moody and Musheno 2003), we analyze caseworkers' stories about their clients, fellow caseworkers and themselves to understand how they practice the ideology behind active labour policy. Our analysis uses Møller's (2009) interviews with 24 Danish caseworkers who administer social welfare and sick leave benefits based on disability as the primary eligibility criterion. We selected stories told by caseworkers that exemplify archetypes of good and bad citizens, good and bad clients, and good and bad caseworkers. Through interpretative analysis, we elucidate how caseworkers make sense of active labour policy and internalize the pressures of managerial reforms to discipline both citizens and each other.
Within recent years, Denmark has implemented a number of preventive policies based on the line of reasoning that it is better to prevent than to solve problems. Preventive policies express political intentions aimed at solving core welfare state problems, but policy goals are ambiguous and vague, and policy tools are often poorly specified. Thus, front-line workers (FLWs) are pinpointed as key persons to implement these policies, because they hold a ‘specific knowledge’ about and ‘close acquaintance’ with citizens. In the article, we explore different types of front-line work, implementing preventive policies, and identifying children in need of a special effort.
In the 1990s, against the backdrop of an ascending Age of Neoliberalism, sex offender registration statutes were passed in the United States. These laws require law enforcement officials to utilize computer technologies in order to publicly identify individuals who have been convicted of sexual offenses. In this study, we conducted in-depth interviews with twenty-four respondents who were forced to register as sex offenders. All of these participants resided within Southeast Texas, which is arguably one of the most punitive regions within the United States. The vast majority of the sample reported moderate to severe forms of harassment as a result of being outed as sex offenders via computer technologies. We conclude that in the post-Keynesian United States, the Web-based monitoring of sex offenders will continue to remain a popular American pastime and may even expand to other industrialized democracies throughout the world.
Hate crime laws have reinforced neoliberalism by expanding police and prosecutorial power, adding to the rapid expansion of incarcerated populations. Further, hate crime discourse associates anti-queer violence with notions of “stranger danger,” and thereby reproduces problematic race and social class politics in which an innocent, implicitly middle-class, person is suddenly and randomly attacked by a hateful, implicitly low-income, person. Thus, the author argues that queer and intersectional resistance should reject hate crime discourse and, instead, focus on the experiences of marginalized lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. By doing so, scholarship and activism concerned with reducing anti-queer violence can benefit a wide range of LGBT people without reinforcing inequalities based on race and social class.
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