Work for welfare and civic equality

Hammer, Sara (2004) Work for welfare and civic equality. In: 6th Path to Full Employment Conference/11th National Unemployment Conference, 8-10 Dec 2004, Newcastle, Australia.


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Work-for-welfare style unemployment policies have been introduced in the majority of western countries as part of an overarching contractual regime, which demands various prescribed forms of reciprocation of citizens who require government income support. Communitarian scholar, Lawrence Mead, argues that such policies are ethically justified because they demand 'civic equality' of unemployed citizens. This paper contends that the coercive dimension of work-for-welfare has the potential to reinforce public perceptions that unemployed citizens are morally inferior, which itself reinforces the social stigma of being unemployed. Based on this interpretation, the concept of civic equality underpinning work-for-welfare is inconsistent with a belief in the dignity of the individual. One could argue that this belief is an important prerequisite for designing unemployment and employment policies that take seriously the notion of civic equality. To support this paper's argument, it will briefly discuss the philosophy and practice of a Queensland-based employment agency that begins from this standpoint.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published version of paper made accessible with permission of publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Business - Department of Economics and Resource Management
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2007 05:27
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 22:47
Uncontrolled Keywords: unemployment, welfare, work-for-the-dole
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160512 Social Policy
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2201 Applied Ethics > 220104 Human Rights and Justice Issues

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