Policy Press

Publishing with Purpose

The Reformation of Welfare

The New Faith of the Labour Market

By Tom Boland and Ray Griffin

Published

1 Dec 2022

Page count

208 pages

ISBN

978-1529211337

Dimensions

234 x 156 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

15 Jun 2021

Page count

208 pages

ISBN

978-1529211320

Dimensions

234 x 156 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

15 Jun 2021

Page count

208 pages

ISBN

978-1529211351

Dimensions

Imprint

Bristol University Press
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    Western culture has ‘faith’ in the labour market as a test of the worth of each individual. For those who are out of work, welfare is now less of a support than a means of purification and redemption. Continuously reformed by the left and right in politics, the contemporary welfare state attempts to transform the unemployed into active jobseekers, punishing non-compliance.

    Drawing on ideas from economic theology, this provocative book uncovers deep-rooted religious concepts and shows how they continue to influence contemporary views of work and unemployment: Jobcentres resemble Purgatory where the unemployed attempt to redeem themselves, Job-seeking is a form of Pilgrimage in hope of salvation, and the economy appears as Providence, whereby trials and tribulations test each individual. The book will be essential reading for those interested in the sociology and anthropology of modern economic life.

    Tom Boland is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at University College Cork. His recent publications include articles in Anthropology, Philosophy, Sociology and Theology, and his 2019 book The Spectacle of Critique was published by Routledge.

    Ray Griffin is Lecturer in Strategic Management at Waterford Institute of Technology. He is Principal Investigator of the HECAT 2020 Disruptive Technologies Supporting Labour Market Decision Making Project.

    The authors are long-time collaborators, writing several publications together, and are co-directors of the Welfare Un/Employment Research Collaborative (WUERC) and Economy & Society Summer School.

    The Reformation of Welfare: The New Faith of the Labour Market

    Paradoxes of Welfare

    Archaic Anthropology: The Presence of the Past in the Present

    Reform: Policies and the Polity

    Vocation: Doing God’s Work

    Purgatory: The Ideal of Purifying Suffering

    Pilgrimage: The interminable ritual of Jobseeking

    Curriculum Vitae: Confessions of faith in the labour market

    Conclusion: Parables of Welfare