Work and the Welfare State
Street-Level Organizations and Workfare Politics
Publication Year: 2013
Work and the Welfare State places street-level organizations at the analytic center of welfare-state politics, policy, and management. This volume offers a critical examination of efforts to change the welfare state to a workfare state by looking at on-the-ground issues in six countries: the US, UK, Australia, Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands.
An international group of scholars contribute organizational studies that shed new light on old debates about policies of workfare and activation. Peeling back the political rhetoric and technical policy jargon, these studies investigate what really goes on in the name of workfare and activation policies and what that means for the poor, unemployed, and marginalized populations subject to these policies. By adopting a street-level approach to welfare state research, Work and the Welfare State reveals the critical, yet largely hidden, role of governance and management reforms in the evolution of the global workfare project. It shows how these reforms have altered organizational arrangements and practices to emphasize workfare's harsher regulatory features and undermine its potentially enabling ones.
As a major contribution to expanding the conceptualization of how organizations matter to policy and political transformation, this book will be of special interest to all public management and public policy scholars and students.
Published by: Georgetown University Press
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Title Page, About the Series, Other Works in the Series, Copyright
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This book emerged out of the collective sense of an international groupof scholars that the full workfare story has yet to be told. We share thebelief that this is an important story, because of workfare’s profoundimplications for how we organize our societies and economies. In conductingour own research, we had come to deeply appreciate the work of other scholarsin this field. But we often found striking discontinuities between our experiencesexamining workfare on the ground and research conducted at a more abstract...
PART I: INTRODUCTION
Chapter 1 Work and the Welfare State
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The policies of workfare and labor market activation occupy contestedterrain, where the structuring institutions of the market and the welfarestate meet. That gives these policies strategic significance, positioningthem to play a role in reshaping the boundaries between work and the welfarestate. Over the past few decades, these policies, and the workfare project theycomprise, have developed global reach. They are now deeply embedded in thearchitecture of public policy from North America to Australia and throughout...
Chapter 2 Street-Level Organizations and the Welfare State
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Welfare states are dynamic, continually adapting to changes in politi-cal, social, and economic conditions. Transformations occur, in part,through formal policymaking; however, policies and the processesthat lead to legislative enactment or defeat are only part of the political story.Welfare state adaptations also take shape less visibly through the activities ofstreet-level organizations (SLOs), the public bureaucracies and private agenciesWelfare state studies frequently reference SLOs as policy implementers,...
PART II: WHAT’S AT ISSUE: POLITICS, POLICIES, AND JOBS
Chapter 3 The American Welfare State: Two Narratives
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The stories societies tell about themselves powerfully shape their choicesand their subsequent actions. They affect how people understand theirrelationship to one another. They guide the futures people can imagine.They suggest the links between past events and current and future develop-ments. They remind us of what we want and how we may achieve our objectives.Narrative is fundamental to social development. We evolved as story-tellingbeings, and our stories are critical to making sense of what we are doing. With-...
Chapter 4 The Policies ofWorkfare: At the Boundaries betweenWork and the Welfare State
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In recent decades, policies of workfare and activation have been redrawingthe relationship between work and the welfare state. These policies may beunderstood as part of a broader project through which states are promotingthe primacy of work and limiting the provision of welfare. This project is nowwidespread, incorporated into the social and labor market policy arrangementsHowever, what looks, at first glance, like a growing project of global workfareis not a clear march toward a common mission. An evolving policy construct,...
Chapter 5 Double Jeopardy: The Misfit between Welfare-to-Work Requirements and Job Realities
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If a work-based welfare state is to improve low-income families’ economicsecurity, it must be based on a realistic appraisal of jobs in today’s labormarket. In particular, it must be clear that the policies of workfare andwelfare-to-work can ensure that low-income families can access needed supportsand, in the longer term, avoid poverty. But policymakers may be expecting toomuch from jobs lodged at the lower end of the labor market. Although manyindividuals participating in welfare-to-work initiatives have moved off public...
PART III: GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT: WORKFARE’S ‘‘SECOND TRACK’’
Chapter 6 Triple Activation: Introducing Welfare-to-Work into Dutch Social Assistance
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This chapter argues that the introduction of welfare-to-work reforms inwelfare states—‘‘activation,’ as it is usually called in Europe—in practiceinvolves a process of ‘‘triple activation.’’ This means activating benefi-ciaries of social assistance, the organizations that administer benefit paymentsand activation services, and frontline staff in these organizations.1 Through theprocesses of triple activation, welfare states redefine the rights, obligations, andresponsibilities of the unemployed, transform the core business of public welfare...
Chapter 7 Active Labor Market Reform in Denmark: The Role of Governance in Policy Change
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Denmark is widely regarded as a ‘‘model’’ example of the Nordic welfarestate. Its highly developed integration of labor-market and social wel-fare arrangements allows for both social protection and labor-marketflexibility. Denmark is arguably distinctive in the ways in which its labor-marketpolicies are linked to a broader set of welfare state arrangements, generallyreferred to as the ‘‘flexicurity state.’’ Although it’s difficult to describe the flexi-curity concept in brief, generally, it refers to arrangements through which the...
Chapter 8 Performance Management as a Disciplinary Regime: Street-Level Organizations in a Neoliberal Era of Poverty Governance
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Over the past few decades, neoliberal reforms have redefined the logic ofgovernance in American poverty programs. Neoliberalism is a form ofmarket fundamentalism that, unlike familiar laissez-faire doctrines,does not aim to reduce the state’s involvement in economic relations. Instead,it seeks to restructure state operations around market principles, harness statecapacities to service markets, and use state interventions to cultivate marketrationalities (Brown 2003). At the level of mission, neoliberal welfare reform...
PART IV: STREET-LEVEL ORGANIZATIONS AND THE PRACTICES OF WORKFARE
Chapter 9 Commodification, Inclusion, or What? Workfare in Everyday Organizational Life
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Welfare states are continually evolving in the context of changes in theeconomy, society, and the polity. This dynamism became particu-larly pronounced toward the end of the twentieth century as welfarestates appeared to enter a period of transformation reflected, in part, in effortsto contain the provision of welfare and expand participation in work. In theUnited States, the workfare project has advanced under the rubric of welfareAs a legislative project, welfare reform was highly contentious, some twenty-...
Chapter 10 Race, Respect, and Red Tape: Inside the Black Box of Racially Representative Bureaucracies
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US welfare agencies operate as access points for social benefits aswell as enforcers of an expansive set of rules and requirementsdesigned to limit reliance on public assistance, fulfill workrequirements, and minimize fraud and errors. Scholars have shown that histori-cally welfare has also functioned as a racialized system of social provision thatreinforces rather than mitigates racial and ethnic inequalities (Lewis 2000; Lieb-erman 2001; Neubeck and Cazenave 2001; Schram, Soss, and Fording 2003)....
Chapter 11 Good Intentions and Institutional Blindness: Migrant Populations and the Implementation of German Activation Policy
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Germany has the largest share of immigrants among the larger Europeancountries.1 This presents an enormous challenge: how to address theexclusion and marginalization of migrants from the labor market. Fol-lowing increasing national unemployment in the course of successive businesscycles, in 2005 Germany introduced major labor-market reforms using activa-tion services and work requirements as central policy instruments. These policyinitiatives, known as the Hartz reforms, extended work-activation requirements,...
Chapter 12 Frontline Workers as Intermediaries: The Changing Landscape of Disability and Employment Services in Australia
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Recent welfare reform in Australia has been constructed around the now-familiar principle of paid work and willingness to work as the funda-mental markers of social citizenship. Beginning with the long-termunemployed in Australia in the mid-1990s, the scope of welfare reform has nowextended to include people with a disability—which is a category of recipientsof income support that has been growing. From the national government’s pointof view, this growth is a financial concern, as it seeks to move as many people...
PART V: ADMINISTRATIVE JUSTICE: CHALLENGING WORKFARE PRACTICES
Chapter 13 Conditionality, Sanctions, and the Weakness of Redress Mechanisms in the British ‘‘New Deal’’
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This chapter analyzes the implications of the New Deal in the UnitedKingdom for the accountability of officials and for the rights of redressof job seekers. As context for this analysis, it also reviews the develop-ment of social security provisions for the unemployed, which include social assis-tance as well as social insurance benefits. In the United Kingdom, there hasbeen a shift from a more passive approach, in which the main function of socialsecurity is to prevent hardship, toward a more active approach, in which the...
Chapter 14 Redress and Accountability in US Welfare Agencies
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The governmental distribution of welfare benefits is more than a mone-tary exchange. It is also a transaction with consequences for the relation-ship between citizens and the state. When the government provideswelfare benefits, it is obligated to do so fairly and equitably, not just economi-cally or efficiently (Frederickson 2005). Under US law, recipients of cash assis-tance are entitled to certain legal protections, including the right to challengea denial, discontinuance, or reduction of benefits in an administrative forum,...
PART VI: CONCLUSION
Chapter 15 Work and the Welfare State Reconsidered: Street-Level Organizations and the Global Workfare Project
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In this volume we have sought to introduce a new perspective to the studyof welfare state policies and politics, one that directs analytic attention tothe street-level organizations (SLOs) at the operational core of the welfarestate. Turning the focus from policy to practice, this volume makes visible thevariety of ways in which workfare-style policies operate in everyday organiza-tional life. It also reveals how governance and management reforms have func-tioned as a second track for policy change, steering workfare practices on the...
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Page Count: 336
Illustrations: 1 figure, 14 tables
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Public Management and Change series