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Title: Policy, protest and power : contemporary perspectives and engagements of post-crisis social movements within the British welfare state
Author: White, Gregory
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2017
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Contemporary social policy in the UK is at a critical impasse: the ongoing government austerity programme has presented an unprecedented challenge to civil society organisations, trade unions and social movements as to questions of social justice and inequality. These challenges have manifested as: (1) tackling entrenched neoliberal narratives surrounding the welfare state; (2) organising and coordinating direct action and a (non-) institutional response. From the perspective of post-crisis social movements (such as Occupy London and UK Uncut), there has been a focus on non-institutional methods - often manifested in the form of direct action - to address social and economic injustices. The efficacy of such decisions to act have been widely researched. However, whilst the interest in researching links between activism and policy outcomes is strong, the lasting impact of such interventions on government policy - and, in particular, social policy - is less well-known. This thesis utilises fieldwork (conducted between 2013 and 2015) in order to better understand the relationship between post-crisis social movements and social policy. The investigation utilises mixed methods, including a deep textual analysis covering a spread of documents from trade union movements, social movements and political parties active in the UK between 2010 and 2015. In addition, it also utilises an analysis of interview data, collected from participants active in the same organisations. It examines institutional and non-institutional forms of activism - deployed in the post-crisis context - and analyses the potential for such activism, in pursuit of understanding how 'outside' voices and fringe political movements can engage with and even influence social policy - but also how they can be dismissed. Further, it will pose questions for social policy scholars as to how social movements can challenge certain policy prescriptions and be effective in both an institutional and non-institutional sphere.
Supervisor: Farnsworth, Kevin ; Irving, Zoe Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available