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Welfare Dependence or Enforced Deprivation? A Critical Examination of White Neoliberal Welfare and Risk
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-17, 20:42 authored by Sonya StanfordSonya Stanford, Taylor, S
Social policy, service delivery, and professional practice in social work and human services have been increasingly enacted in contexts where welfare and welfare dependency are characterised as significant and persistent social problems in Australia. In this paper, we theoretically and critically examine the ‘‘problem’’ of welfare and propose an alternative framework for progressing understanding and action. We consider how Whiteness theory, neoinstitutional theory and risk theory can be used to examine how welfare dependency is framed as an entrenched problem within the Australian context. Our analysis elucidates how the social, economic, political, and cultural privileges ertaining to Whiteness, and the social, economic, political, and cultural deprivations of those who are seen to most clearly embody the ‘‘problem’’ of welfare dependency, are reinforced through neoliberal welfare risk rationalities. Implications of this theoretical exposition are considered, as well as possible research directions. Such work promises an alternative and hopeful analytical framework for understanding and responding to ‘‘the problem of welfare’’ in Australia.
Publication titleAustralian Social Work
Department/SchoolSchool of Social Sciences
Place of publicationAustralia
Rights statementCopyright 2013 Australian Association of Social Workers