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The Workfare Illusion: Re-examining the Concept and the British Case

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Authors
Dostal, Jörg Michael
Issue Date
2008-02
Publisher
Wiley
Citation
Social Policy & Administration, Vol. 42 No.1, pp. 19-42
Keywords
Active labour market policyNew DealUnemploymentUnited KingdomWelfare reformWorkfare
Abstract
This article contends that workfare programmes pursued by various OECD countries since the mid‐1990s do not amount to a fundamental change in policy. The limited potential of workfare is due to the fact that it fails to transcend the constraints of earlier forms of ‘active’ responses to unemployment. Furthermore, it suffers from specific policy‐making disadvantages not shared by these responses. The article opens with a survey of relevant academic debates on the subject. It then places workfare in a broader context by identifying its functional reach, as compared to other active policy responses to unemployment such as active labour market policy (ALMP). The third section analyses workfare policies in the United Kingdom, as developed since 1997, by re‐examining the British New Deal employment programme. That review demonstrates that workfare policies either depend on their ‘fit’ with the existing policy‐making heritage, or that they remain merely symbolic. The article concludes by suggesting that the potential of workfare to effect change in responses to unemployment continues to be of limited significance. In other words, capitalist employment and welfare systems continue to be characterized by incremental adaptation rather than by fundamental regime change as suggested by the critics of workfare.
ISSN
0144–5596
Language
English
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10371/147351
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9515.2007.00590.x
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Graduate School of Public Administration (행정대학원)Dept. of Public Administration (행정학과)Journal Papers (저널논문_행정학과)
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