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Social policies and social controlNew perspectives on the ‘not-so-big society’$
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Malcolm Harrison and Teela Sanders

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781447310747

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447310747.001.0001

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Beyond Protection: ‘The Vulnerable’ In The Age Of Austerity

Beyond Protection: ‘The Vulnerable’ In The Age Of Austerity

(p.39) Three Beyond Protection: ‘The Vulnerable’ In The Age Of Austerity
Social policies and social control

Kate Brown

Policy Press

The concept of vulnerability has come to play an important role in shaping policies and interventions targeted at intervening in the lives of certain social groups. In times of economic austerity, ideas about 'vulnerability' and the prioritisation of 'the vulnerable' have particular significance in the allocation of welfare resources in the UK. This chapter examines the implications of a focus on 'the vulnerable' in UK social policy, situating vulnerability discourses within a context of behavioural regulation, social control and decreasing welfare resources. It is argued that although ideas about vulnerability seem to resonate strongly with the pursuit of social justice and the protection of those who need it most, notions of 'the vulnerable' move beyond protection, operating in a much more complex way; especially in relation to supportive and controlling interventions, inclusion and exclusion, and in 'qualifications' for welfare.

Keywords:   Vulnerability, Youth, Protection, Resources, Austerity

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