Themed Section: Welfare Chauvinism
This article within the special section, considers how chauvinistic welfare policies operate as a bordering practice. Taking the UK as an example, it examines a process in which welfare provisions have increasingly been withdrawn from a group of people designated as undeserving. Welfare chauvinism has thus been shown to operate in practice as a form of bordering by UK authorities to exclude multiple and changing categories of migrants. These practices are not exclusive to the UK. Efforts to impede access to benefits (child care and minimum income) can be observed across the EU, even as European institutions present evidence that immigrants are the group at most severe risk of unemployment, poverty and exclusion. So urgent has been the political imperative to strip migrants of social rights, that the UK government and local authorities have on many occasions been willing to step outside domestic and international legal obligations. The UK’s domestic social order now increasingly reflects bordering practices tested on those who come as migrants from the rest of the world.
This article considers how chauvinistic welfare policies operate as a bordering practice. Taking the UK as an example, it examines a process in which welfare provisions have increasingly been withdrawn from a group of people designated as undeserving. It points out a close link between chauvinism based on ethnicity and that based on class. This relation is explored in detail for the case of social housing culminating in today’s ‘social housing for local people’ approach. A second case, access to social services for unaccompanied minors, is presented to illustrate bordering practices that operate in everyday services despite existing legal entitlements. The cases show that governments and service providers frequently act outside their legal remits to pursue this agenda, despite the UK’s anti-discrimination legislation.
Simon Guentner, Sue Lukes, Richard Stanton, Bastian A. Vollmer, and Jo Wilding
Bordering practices in the UK welfare system
Critical Social Policy August 2016 36: 391-411, first published on February 5, 2016 doi:10.1177/0261018315622609