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The State, Legal Rigor, and the Poor

The Daily Practice of Welfare Control

Vincent Dubois

This article focuses on the means by which the state controls welfare recipients in France. The paradox of these actions, which are made in the name of legal rigor but are characterized by ambivalence and the discretionary power of grassroots agents, reveals the broader functioning of a government over the poor. These actions are based on the combination of a multitude of individual relationships, which, although unevenly coordinated, derive from the structural rationale of the post-welfare era. Individualization and uncertainty signal not so much a disaggregation of the state as a consistent mode of governance in which discretion and leeway accorded to street-level bureaucrats are necessary for the state to exert power over citizens' behaviors.

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Antipoverty Measures

The Potential for Shaming and Dignity Building through Delivery Interactions

Erika Gubrium and Sony Pellissery

in this special issue, how social citizenship has the potential to structure the relationships between welfare recipients and administrators in the framework of rights, discretion, and negotiations. As a concept, social citizenship transcends

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‘Sorting out income’

Transnational householding and austerity Britain

Deborah James and Samuel Kirwan

The reliance of welfare recipients on the state is classically demonised as a relation of dependency: one that foments passivity on the part of claimants. Critical voices in austerity Britain have drawn attention to government efforts to reconfigure that relationship, by ‘reforming’ welfare, remaking the grantee as a repaying loan‐taker and turning dependents into responsible, autonomous citizens. This paper, based on research in the debt advice sector in England, shows that dependency may involve unexpected directionalities of reliance. (Those who appear as state dependents in one register can be those depended upon in another.) It focuses in particular on encounters with migrants, describing what the process of ‘transnational householding’ tells us about dependency. It discusses the relations between advisers and clients, showing how advice charities create a parallel system of care and support. A punitive and debt‐based welfare system means that many clients owe money to the state as well as to commercial creditors. Austerity and welfare reform are rendering individuals’ obligations to family members and others fragile and insecure. But given advisers’ intervention between a hostile bureaucracy and debtors, the experience of reckoning, owing money and settling accounts can end up as something more akin to householding than to controlling discipline.

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From Toilet Paper Wars to #ViralKindness?

COVID-19, Solidarity and the Basic Income Debate in Australia

Anne Décobert

, constructing ‘welfare recipients as parasites upon “ordinary Australian” taxpayers’ ( Archer 2009: 177 ). Through media and government discourse, the term became part of the Australian vernacular; the welfare state came to be represented as the cause of

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Battlegrounds of dependence

Reconfiguring labor, kinship and relational obligation

Keir Martin, Ståle Wig, and Sylvia Yanagisako

enforce new forms of intergenerational interdependence upon some welfare recipients, again illustrating the ways in which welfare, wage labor and kinship relations remain intertwined (see the article by Katherine Smith in this issue). Related processes are

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A mother's hope in the midst of existential immobility from state and stigma

Katherine Smith

policy and public and political discourse about the dependent “welfare recipient” in Britain today, rather than risk resisting or protesting these categories. They bend to the demands of the disciplinary devices used to incentivize and motivate welfare

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Book Reviews

Andrew Lattas, Anni Kajanus, and Naomi Haynes

punishment so as to control and produce the desires, motives, and beliefs of welfare recipients. Along with the increased impoverishment of the poor, neo-liberalism has promoted processes of rapid wealth concentration. This has transformed cities that have

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Granting ‘Human Dignity’

How Emotions and Professional Ethos Make Public Services

Sophie Andreetta

fifties. She has been working for the welfare office for almost thirty years: it was one of the first jobs that she got out of social work school. She does not like that she is controlling welfare recipients on behalf of the state and would rather work for

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Incipient “commoning” in defense of the public?

Competing varieties of fiscal citizenship in tax- and spending-related direct democracy

Sandra Morgen and Jennifer Erickson

welfare recipients, “illegal aliens,” “tax and spend” (liberal) politicians; and “greedy” public employees protected by “Big Labor.” Racist and sexist depictions of tax “others” are present in national and state-level antitax discourses, but more often

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Fantasies of the Good Life

Responding to Rape Culture in 13 Reasons Why

Cameron Greensmith and Jocelyn Sakal Froese

needs and service their own ambitions, whether as welfare recipients, medical patients, consumers of pharmaceuticals, university students, or workers in ephemeral occupations. (694) Beginning in the 1970s, the good life ceased to be a life in which