Journal article

Welfare Conditionality and Blaming the Unemployed

Michael McGann, Phuc Nguyen, Mark Considine

ADMINISTRATION & SOCIETY | SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC | Published : 2020

Abstract

Welfare recipients are increasingly subject to various forms of work-related conditionality that, critics argue, presuppose a “pathological” theory of unemployment that stigmatizes welfare recipients as de-motivated to work. Drawing on surveys of Australian frontline employment services staff, we examine the extent to which caseworkers attribute being on benefits to recipients’ lack of motivation, and whether this problem figuration of unemployment is associated with a “harder edged” approach to activation. We find that it is, although it is diminishing. This reflects how frontline discretion has become more routinized from the application of more intensive forms of performance monitoring an..

View full abstract

University of Melbourne Researchers

Grants

Awarded by Australian Research Councial


Funding Acknowledgements

The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was funded by an Australian Research Councial Linkage Grant (LP150100277), supported by our industry partners Jobs Australia, the National Employment Services Association, and Westgate Community Initiatives Group.