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Title: 'Cohesion' in the context of welfare and citizenship : discourse, policy and common sense
Author: Donoghue, Matthew
ISNI:       0000 0004 5370 1919
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis deals with New Labour’s development of Community Cohesion and welfare reform policy between 2001 and 2010. It argues that there was a disjuncture between the linguistic presentation and the actual aims of cohesion and welfare policy. This was symptomatic of deeper processes of coercion and consent, designed to create citizens amenable to socioeconomic adjustment and increasing responsibility onto the citizen. Discourses in policy are contrasted with everyday narratives of people living in Bradford and Birmingham to draw out this disjuncture, but also to show elements of dissent from dominant discourses, as well as the multiple ways in which the everyday narratives conform to a series of discursive logics, potentially lessening the impact of this disjuncture. The thesis uses a critical analytical framework, adopting Gramscian concepts of ‘common sense’ and hegemony, within which the methods of Critical Discourse Analysis and focus groups are used. Critical Discourse Analysis is used to analyse cohesion and welfare documents from between 2001 and 2010, whilst focus group research investigates the plausibility of the disjuncture between language and aims, as well as the underlying construction of a common sense understanding of ‘cohesion’ based on hegemonic discourses. However, these hegemonic discourses can still be challenged through what Laclau calls ‘contamination’, providing the everyday narratives with the capacity to question discursive logics and subtly alter the discourses themselves. The thesis’ contribution to knowledge comes from the combined use of critical discourse analysis and focus groups within the Gramscian analytical frame, as well as its findings that a disjuncture between the language and aims of policy, and how citizens in selected areas have reacted to this, points to wider questions about community, empowerment and responsibility in the New Labour years. This is placed in the context of New Labour’s approach to, and ambitions of, creating British citizens that followed an appropriate ideology (Bieling, 2003: 66) based on community as a new plane from which to administer micro-moral relations (Rose, 1996: 331).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available