Regressive ‘Public’ Welfare: Implications for Intersecting Inequalities

This is the first workshop in a series exploring the significance of Richard Titmuss’ work for understanding social division of welfare, social interdependency and intersectional inequality.

Supported by the UK Social Policy Association, this is the first workshop in a series that aims to explore the lasting and changing significance of Richard Titmuss’s work for understanding social divisions of welfare, social interdependency and intersectional inequality.

Sixty years ago, Richard Titmuss published ‘Essays on the Welfare State’ - a seminal text underlining the moral and functional legitimacy of social interdependency between citizens. Titmuss (1958) sought to expand and re-vision public understandings of ‘welfare’ to highlight fiscal and occupational fields of state assistance that run alongside public social transfers and services. In doing so, Titmuss challenged the notion that ‘welfare’ is the reserve of the working class by outlining what the middle and upper classes receive through state subsidy and support. Sixty years on, developments in UK social policy demonstrate the on-going relevance of Titmuss’s work. Equally however, there is a need to re-think the social divisions of welfare thesis and its application to the present context (Mann, 2009).

Since 2010, administrative shifts in entitlement have undermined the redistributive functions of the tax-benefit system in the UK. Social policy analysis has tended to explore how these shifts affect material and symbolic inequalities across a) the income distribution or b) social groupings. However, less attention has been given to their effects on the relationship between vertical inequalities of resource and horizontal inequalities of social difference. Where a more multi-dimensional consideration of the distributional effects of social policy has been undertaken, great insight is possible about the changing status and relationship between vertical and horizontal inequalities that are produced and sometimes sustained through welfare intervention and recalibration.

This half-day workshop will explore these issues and pose a number of empirical and normative questions about the distributional role of social policy in light of entrenched intersectional inequalities. This event will extend consideration of the regressive potential of welfare intervention and how this interacts with categories of social difference such as gender, race and ethnicity, disability and age.

Lunch will be provided.

The event is free, but registration is required (book below).


12:30-1:00            Lunch and Registration

1:00-1:45              Welfare, Inequality and Citizenship: Re-thinking Social Division
                              Dr Daniel Edmiston, University of Leeds

1:45-2:30              Intersecting Inequalities in Times of Austerity: Old Ideas and New Conversations
                              Dr Sarah Marie Hall, University of Manchester

2:30-3:15              The Intersectional Politics of Austerity and Islamophobia
                              Dr Ben Whitham, De Montfort University
                              Dr Nadya Ali, University of Sussex

3:15-3:30              Break

3:30-4:15              The Story of Welfare Dependency and Online Disablist Hate Speech
                              Leah Burch, University of Leeds

4:15-5:00              Generations Apart: How the Young have been the Biggest Losers since 2008 
                              David Kingman, Intergenerational Foundation

5:00-5:30              Panel Discussion and Close

Booking Details

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Location Details

School of Sociology and Social Policy
University of Leeds

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