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P038
Human worth in austere times: transformative welfare regimes, human needs and public policy
Convenors:
Deborah James (LSE)
Patrícia Alves de Matos (CRIA-ISCTE - Instituto Universitário de Lisboa)
Format:
Panels
Time zone:
UTC+1
Sessions:
Tuesday 21 July, 14:00-15:45

Short abstract:

This panel examines the politics of human worth in austere times, focusing on how it is experienced, produced, negotiated and conceptualized in different livelihood spheres and institutional settings, and across diverse scales of regulation, under transformative welfare regimes.

Long abstract:

Across Europe, austerity policies of spending cuts, health privatisation and welfare reform, together with an intense moralization of those 'who had been living above their possibilities', have redefined the connections between citizens and the state. Transformative welfare regimes have contributed to a reconfiguration of the articulation of the needs of capital, states and labour. This panel examines the politics of human worth in austere times, focusing on how it is experienced, produced, negotiated and conceptualized in different livelihood spheres and institutional settings, and across diverse scales of regulation, under transformative welfare regimes. The panel will explore the relational/contentious processes through which human worth is defined, classified and justified in various institutional settings and through policy processes, and the daily livelihood practices and normative moralities that underpin it. We invite historically-informed ethnographic contributions addressing: 1) the mutually constitutive relationship between austerity ideologies, shifting policy frameworks of redistribution and conceptions of human need; 2) the normative moralities mobilised by ordinary people to define and legitimise the value of their needs: both material (income, housing, health) and immaterial (rights, entitlements, aspirations); 3) the ways in which human worth is produced and negotiated in, through and across institutional settings and classificatory typologies; 4) the interaction between people's underlying moral logics and rationalities of worth, and those inherent in policy frameworks and mediating institutions of welfare and care provision.