Chapter

‘Reconditioning the Unemployed’: Work Camps in Britain

Desmond King

in In The Name of Liberalism

Published in print September 1999 | ISBN: 9780198296294
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599668 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198296290.003.0008
 ‘Reconditioning the Unemployed’: Work Camps in Britain

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King documents the establishment and operation of British Instructional Centres from 1929–38, ‘labour camps’, which also featured physical training and reconditioning classes. He argues that, unlike British eugenics policies, there was little expertise cited or marshalled in the formulation of British work camps; instead, such policies rested simply on the perception amongst senior civil servants that the long‐term unemployed required physical ‘reconditioning’ to successfully enter the labour market. As a result, in King's view, such camps serve as striking examples of collectivism and the antithesis of the liberalism individualism.

Keywords: Britain; civil service; collectivism; eugenics; expertise; instructional centres; labour camps; liberal individualism; unemployment; work camps

Chapter.  11195 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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