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The guardians of the welfare state: Universal Credit, welfare control and the moral economy of frontline work in austerity Britain

Koch, Insa (2020) The guardians of the welfare state: Universal Credit, welfare control and the moral economy of frontline work in austerity Britain. Sociology. ISSN 0038-0385

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Identification Number: 10.1177%2F0038038520936981

Abstract

On-going processes of ‘austerity localism’, including the state’s withdrawal from local communities, have created heightened pressures at the frontline. Sitting in local authorities, third sector bodies and community organisations, frontline workers come to act as the de facto guardians of a much-diminished welfare state. Yet, in a situation where needs outweigh resources, they also allocate support based on moral hierarchies of deservingness. This Janus-faced role of frontline workers as both a bulwark against, and an enabler of, neoliberal welfare control is examined through the framework of a moral economy of frontline work. I argue that the tensions reflect a deeper struggle over competing notions citizenship, and of the state’s responsibilities towards its citizens, in austerity Britain today.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://journals.sagepub.com/home/soc
Additional Information: © 2020 The Author
Divisions: Law
Anthropology
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 20 May 2020 09:18
Last Modified: 12 Aug 2020 11:42
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/104486

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