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For Whose Benefit?The Everyday Realities of Welfare Reform$
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Ruth Patrick

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781447333463

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447333463.001.0001

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The everyday realities of out-of-work benefits receipt

The everyday realities of out-of-work benefits receipt

(p.57) Three The everyday realities of out-of-work benefits receipt
For Whose Benefit?

Ruth Patrick

Policy Press

This chapter introduces those interviewed for the book, and details their past and present lives, as well as their aspirations and hopes for the future. It describes the ‘work’ that ‘getting by’ on benefits entails, which includes tight budgeting, making hard choices, going without, and sometimes having to shoplift for basic necessities. This chapter also highlights the forms of socially valuable contribution in which many of the participants were engaged, a counter to David Cameron’s depiction of claimants ‘sitting on the sofa waiting for their benefit cheques to arrive’. Further, this chapter discusses the aspirations of individuals, and how individuals often hoped for a future in paid work, and where they could feel ordinary and secure. Overall, this chapter begins the work of detailing lived experiences – citizenship from below – and in so doing challenges the dominant citizenship narrative from above.

Keywords:   getting by, poverty, benefits, contribution, debt

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