eCite Digital Repository

Welfare Dependence or Enforced Deprivation? A Critical Examination of White Neoliberal Welfare and Risk


Stanford, S and Taylor, S, Welfare Dependence or Enforced Deprivation? A Critical Examination of White Neoliberal Welfare and Risk, Australian Social Work, 66, (4) pp. 476-494. ISSN 0312-407X (2013) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 Australian Association of Social Workers

DOI: doi:10.1080/0312407X.2013.832789


Social policy, service delivery, and professional practice in social work and human services have been increasingly enacted in contexts where welfare and welfare dependency are characterised as significant and persistent social problems in Australia. In this paper, we theoretically and critically examine the ‘‘problem’’ of welfare and propose an alternative framework for progressing understanding and action. We consider how Whiteness theory, neoinstitutional theory and risk theory can be used to examine how welfare dependency is framed as an entrenched problem within the Australian context. Our analysis elucidates how the social, economic, political, and cultural privileges ertaining to Whiteness, and the social, economic, political, and cultural deprivations of those who are seen to most clearly embody the ‘‘problem’’ of welfare dependency, are reinforced through neoliberal welfare risk rationalities. Implications of this theoretical exposition are considered, as well as possible research directions. Such work promises an alternative and hopeful analytical framework for understanding and responding to ‘‘the problem of welfare’’ in Australia.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:welfare; neoliberalism; privilege; whiteness; risk; australia
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Social work
Research Field:Social work not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:Stanford, S (Professor Sonya Stanford)
UTAS Author:Taylor, S (Professor Sandy Taylor)
ID Code:87599
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:20
Deposited By:School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2013-11-26
Last Modified:2017-12-14

Repository Staff Only: item control page