In pursuit of “the welfare trait”:recycling deprivation and reproducing depravation in historical context

Lambert, Michael (2016) In pursuit of “the welfare trait”:recycling deprivation and reproducing depravation in historical context. People, Place and Policy Online, 10 (3). pp. 225-238. ISSN 1753-8041

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Abstract

Adam Perkins’ The Welfare Trait outlines the most recent attempt to provide substance to the existence of an underclass, based on the idea of a shared ‘welfare-induced’, ‘employment-resistant’ personality amongst benefit claimants. Following in the footsteps of historian John Macnicol who went ‘in pursuit’ of the underclass, this article travels ‘in pursuit’ of the welfare trait by situating its claims in historical context through a comparison of the post-war study by William Tonge, Families without Hope, which sought to identify a common psychological maladjustment in ‘problem families.’ The common intention, methods and recommendations of the two studies underline their shared purpose: to transfer the social and policy problems associated with poverty from their socio-economic context and the culpabilities of the state to finding the problem in individual families, identifying their behaviour as problematic and proscribing solutions rooted around cultivating personal responsibility.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
People, Place and Policy Online
ID Code:
83923
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
24 May 2017 12:18
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
08 Jul 2020 06:07