Agency, ‘dependency’ and welfare: beyond issues of claim and contribution?

Peter Dwyer

in The ethics of welfare

Published by Policy Press

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9781861345622
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303763 | DOI:
Agency, ‘dependency’ and welfare: beyond issues of claim and contribution?

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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.

Keywords: agency; dependency; contemporary welfare reform; third way theory; welfare provision; welfare policy; active welfare subject

Chapter.  8500 words. 

Subjects: Social Research and Statistics

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