Surface tension: Place/poverty/policy: From "poverty" to "social exclusion": Implications of discursive shifts in European Union poverty policy, 1975-1999
Peace, R. M. (1999). Surface tension: Place/poverty/policy: From ‘poverty’ to ‘social exclusion’: Implications of discursive shifts in European Union poverty policy, 1975-1999 (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12141
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12141
This dissertation addresses four substantive issues or arguments that are linked in an interdisciplinary discussion informed by contemporary feminist and cultural geographies, feminist political philosophy, policy studies and discourse analysis. The first argument is that there are flexible and contingent uses of discourses of 'social exclusion' in the supranational context of the European Union. The concept of 'exclusion' as the 'new kid on the welfare discourse block' has a distinctive provenance. I discuss the development of Poverty Programmes, and European Union social policy more generally in the liberal democratic milieu of the European Union over the period from 1975-1999. My second argument concerns the relationships between policy and place. I develop a number of arguments about paradoxical spatiality and social policy. Metaphors of 'subsidiarity' and 'solidarity' have key place-effects in relation to anti-poverty discourse. Regional policy produces countervailing effects to supranational and national policy configurations. Projects, such as those developed under Poverty 3 of the European Union Poverty Programmes, clarify the scale of operations of European Union policy initiatives and highlight the local level. Migrant bodies exemplify many of the axiomatic ways in which the principles of solidarity and social cohesion intersect in social exclusion discourse. All of these circumstances identify and reiterate the mutually constitutive and paradoxical nature of place / policy / poverty interactions. The third issue relates to the metaphors and metonymic figurations that produce, and are in tum influenced by, particular interpretations and enactments of social policy. On the one hand, 'social exclusion' is linked to metaphors of 'social integration' and 'social cohesion'. This suggests that anti-poverty policy is part of a complex of social control measures. On the other hand, metaphors of economic 'progress' are linked to discourses of employment, employability and citizenship rights in a way that occludes the discursive space of poverty, and makes it appear as if economic progress is the sole motivation for anti-poverty policy. In either of these circumstances certain categories of poor unwork( able) bodies continue to be excluded from discourses of social exclusion. The current discourses of 'social exclusion' are also producing new ways of 'targeting' 'poor bodies'. This final issue is taken up through a discussion of the relationship of social exclusion, as it is currently deployed in European Community discourse, to 'politics of recognition' and 'politics of redistribution'. Both of these dominant organising strategies for politicised policy initiatives have unanticipated outcomes for the social exclusion of unwork(able) 'poor bodies'. Care needs to be taken, in re-categorising the poor as 'excluded', to ensure that a 'politics of cohesion' does not produce new economies of disregard. The thesis is also experimental in a number of ways. A specific 'technical' objective was to 'test' an approach to policy analysis through the application of textually oriented discourse analysis (TODA), following work pioneered by Norman Fairclough (1992, 1994), coupled with the use of a computer assisted qualitative data analysis system (CAQDAS). I used Qualitative Systems Research software (QSR): NUD.IST© as the tool. The method entailed the development of an online document corpus and also encouraged the use of the Internet as a data source.
The University of Waikato
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