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Book review: life in low-pay, no-pay Britain

Dean, Hartley (2014) Book review: life in low-pay, no-pay Britain. Critical Social Policy, 34 (2). pp. 289-290. ISSN 0261-0183

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0261018313515969e


The cover of this book exhibits a portrayal of Sisyphus, who in Greek mythology was condemned for eternity by the Gods to roll a mighty boulder repeatedly up a hill, merely for the boulder every time to roll back down again. The image symbolizes the fate of workers trapped in the low-pay/no-pay cycle that characterizes extensive parts of the ‘flexibilized’ labour market in post-industrial nations, such as the UK. In a sense, it occurs to me, it also symbolizes the fate of an academic social policy community condemned to labour incessantly to generate works in the myth-busting genre so ably represented by this volume. It is over two decades since my own attempts to debunk such notions as the ‘dependency culture’ and, while I am grateful that social policy researchers are continuing perennially to challenge apocryphal beliefs about the causes of poverty and worklessness, it is depressing that such beliefs remain so enduringly ingrained in the minds of contemporary policy-makers.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 SAGE Publications
Divisions: Centre for Economic Performance
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2014 09:20
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2021 23:15

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