Making Society Work Again: Workfare in Transatlantic Context Since the Sixties

Professor Bernhard Rieger (University of Leiden) will be at the University of Exeter on a Visiting International Academic Fellowship between 13 and 18 May. As part of his visit, he has kindly offered to give a lecture entitled ‘Making Society Work Again: Workfare in Transatlantic Context Since the Sixties.’ 

Drinks and nibbles will be provided. All welcome.

When/where: Tuesday 14 May from 16.30 in Laver 218 (Streatham Campus).

Abstract: Social policies to combat poverty and unemployment in Western societies have changed fundamentally since the 1960s. While policy makers had once regarded the poor and jobless as victims of structural disadvantages beyond an individual’s control, a swelling chorus argued from the 1980s on that material deprivation and rising unemployment were caused by “cultures of poverty” whose norms and values predisposed benefit recipients against regular work, thereby inflating welfare costs. In response, politicians have replaced firm entitlements to benefit payments with “workfare” regimes that link temporary welfare assistance to expectations of a speedy (re-)integration into the world of work. Focussing on the United States, Britain and Germany, this lecture assesses the rise of workfare concepts since the Sixties as well as their social and individual impact.