Popular discourses of dependency, responsibility and rights

Hartley Dean and Ruth Rogers

in The ethics of welfare

Published by Policy Press

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9781861345622
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303763 | DOI:
Popular discourses of dependency, responsibility and rights

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This chapter recounts the principal findings from the ESRC-funded (Economic and Social Research Council) study. It gives particular attention to what might be defined as ‘popular discourses’, based on in-depth interviews that were conducted with a sample of forty-nine working-age adults drawn from Dover, London, Sheffield and Luton. The sample was evenly distributed between men and women and, although it somewhat focused on older participants, the sample included representatives of the full working-age range. The youngest participant was nineteen years of age and the oldest was sixty-five years of age during the time of interview. Six members of the sample were from non-white minority ethnic groups. Two thirds of the samples were living with partners and nearly half had dependent children. Eleven respondents were disabled and five reported that a member of their family was disabled. The sample presented in this chapter was deliberately selected to four income bands: the poorest with income bands below £9,000 per annum, two intermediate income groups with incomes from £9,000 per annum to £ 18,000 per annum and £18,001 per annum to £27,000 per annum, and the richest with incomes above £27,000 per annum. Nine of the participants were professional or in managerial occupations, thirteen were in skilled occupations, ten were in part or unskilled occupations and seventeen were unemployed. The interviews held with these participants aimed to explore the participants' understandings of dependency, responsibility, and rights and to locate these understandings in relation to their attitudes to the welfare state.

Keywords: ESRC; popular discourses; dependency; responsibility; rights; welfare state

Chapter.  9049 words. 

Subjects: Social Research and Statistics

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