Based on a study exploring lived experiences of poverty and prosperity, this book problematizes dominant policy thinking surrounding the functions and limits of welfare in austerity Britain. It does so by critically examining the distributional effects of welfare reform and fiscal recalibration to establish what bearing this has on the changing character and logic of social citizenship in Britain today. Drawing on testimonies of those experiencing relative deprivation and affluence, the book provides an account of the everyday language, ideals and practices that underpin social citizenship and structural inequality. Patterned divergence in the lived realities, political subjectivity and civic engagement of the ‘rich’ and ‘poor’ offers insight into the manifold ways in which welfare austerity secures and maintains institutional legitimacy amidst rising structural inequality. The book presents evidence to suggest that affluent citizens are able to engage with the prevailing terms of social citizenship from within, and in ways that meet their material and discursive ends. By contrast, those at the sharp end of welfare austerity lack the socio-material resources and means of collective identification to engage in sustained political struggle for their rights, identity and recognition. The book reflects on the implications of this for social policy design and delivery as well as the broader health of public deliberation surrounding welfare and inequality in advanced capitalist economies.
I hope to post things on this blog that I did not have the space or opportunity to include in each of the chapters. If you have any questions, please do get in touch!