Title

In bed with the enemy: some ideas on the connections between neoliberalism and the welfare state

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Hartman, YA 2001, 'In bed with the enemy: some ideas on the connections between neoliberalism and the welfare state', Current Sociology, vol. 53, no. 1, pp. 57-73.

Published version available from:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0011392105048288

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

The UK, the US and Australia today embody a type of governmentality which includes a strong element of anti-welfare rhetoric. However, these rationalities have retained - though modified - many elements of a welfare state. What purpose is served by this apparent paradox? It is possible to argue that the welfare state is a necessary precondition for the continued health of the globalized capitalist economies in these nations. This article explores these connections on a general level and makes some tentative suggestions on the functional significance of the current arrangements. In particular it is argued that in Australia the dual labour market is upheld by income support payments. The discourse of anti-welfarism legitimizes an increased level of control over income support recipients’ lives while simultaneously ensuring that expectations regarding citizen entitlements will be dampened - in short, this configuration of discourse and practices facilitates the process of constructing ‘docile bodies’.