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Social Policy in an Era of CompetitionFrom Global to Local Perspectives$
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Dan Horsfall and John Hudson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781447326274

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447326274.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

Global ‘vulnerabilities’: new configurations of competition in the era of conditionality?

Global ‘vulnerabilities’: new configurations of competition in the era of conditionality?

(p.149) Nine Global ‘vulnerabilities’: new configurations of competition in the era of conditionality?
Social Policy in an Era of Competition

Kate Brown

Policy Press

This chapter addresses the increasingly strong targeting of welfare provisions on the most ‘vulnerable’ groups. In the current era of heightened pressure on resources and often increasing social polarisation, focusing resources on more intensive support for the most vulnerable is an inviting option for policy makers. Indeed, key international organisations such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have begun to adopt the language of vulnerability to this end. The chapter then considers the rise of this vulnerability rationale, but investigates its application in practice to demonstrate that a heightened focus on the most vulnerable can contribute towards an intensified competition for resources among the least well-off, obscuring questions about the distribution of resources and opportunities across the whole of society. In such a context, debates about who is vulnerable become increasingly key, with attempts to define and classify people accordingly often serving to exclude groups not seen as vulnerable in the popular imagination.

Keywords:   welfare provisions, vulnerable groups, social polarisation, resources, vulnerability, competition, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, United Nations Development Programme

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