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Title: "A second chance at life" : labour, love and welfare on a South Wales estate
Author: Blakely, Helen
ISNI:       0000 0004 2751 4052
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis examines the lives of a group of welfare-reliant single mothers, the “Lifeline Girls” living in the upper reaches of the South Wales Valleys as they participate in a community education project (“Lifeline”) tasked with raising them out of poverty. The project is situated within the local social and economic structure and the broader institutional context of market and state. In this way, the research conceives of the linkages between a local site of investigation and the external forces that permeate it. This is achieved through a multi-method, ethnographic approach that charts the everyday interactions of the women involved in Lifeline with the labour market and the pervasive mechanisms of street-level welfare governance. In this the recent restructuring of the welfare state is of particular interest, firstly through the dispersal of welfare governance to new sites of practice in the field of community development and specifically here to “Lifeline”; and secondly through the extension of the moral imperative of employment to those traditionally assumed to be outside of the labour market. The “Lifeline Girls” were key targets of this restructuring and the ways in which it repositioned this group of young women within new symbolic and material constraints and opportunities is the focus of this research. As such the study examines welfare restructuring, from its rhetorical imaginings to the situated action and meaning masking found in one site of its practice. The account established the ways in which the “Lifeline Girls” were subject to both coercive and therapeutic pressures associated with very different forms of welfare practice. Here, “Lifeline” itself emerges as a ‘space of contestation’ but one that is inevitably flawed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available