Post-Crisis Austerity and the Trouble with the Troubled Families Programme
This chapter looks at the way in which poor and indebted families are disciplined into “morally” agreeable lifestyles in contemporary austerity Britain. It draws upon Loic Waquant’s work on the neoliberal governance of social insecurities to understand the interlinkages between social welfare provision and disciplining practices in a historical context. The chapter examines the implementation of the Troubled Families Programme in Liverpool and Manchester in the United Kingdom. Against the background of ongoing austerity—hitting the poor (particularly poor women) disproportionally—this case study reveals a trend to blame individuals for societal failure via moral discourses condemning lifestyle choices and practices. These discourses then legitimate further welfare cuts, on the one hand, and policies focusing on disciplining individuals, on the other. The socioeconomic sources of poverty and deprivation are largely ignored.
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