Welfare, Conditional Citizenship and the Neuroliberal State – Psychology Conference abstract and details


Conference on Friday, October 7, 2016 from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM at St Thomas Centre – Ardwick Green North, Manchester M12 6FZ, United Kingdom.

Psychologists and the benefits system

“Psychologists need to support people through the benefits system, whilst also working to affect necessary changes in the system. This event will explore some of the debates, challenges and skills necessary to take on these responsibilities.

The day will include presentations from public health, sociology, people with lived experience, clinical psychologists, the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and other professionals. There will also be workshops focussed on skill development, with particular attention on report writing, navigating the benefits system and DWP safeguarding procedures.

This will be a challenging, supportive, thought-provoking day.” Event organiser, Dr Stephen Weatherhead.

Contact: s.weatherhead@lancaster.ac.uk 

Please see here for further details.

Abstract for my presentation

The consolidation of neoliberalism with Conservative moral authoritarianism has resulted in welfare policy design with a reductive and punitive behaviour change agenda. This decontextualises citizens and personalises responsibility for circumstances of socioeconomic hardship.

The emergent psychopolitical form of governance, founded on expressions of an established hierarchy of power and influence, has some profound implications for traditional notions of welfare, democracy, cognitive autonomy, citizen agency, equality and human rights. Not only does this behaviourist mode of administration fundamentally change the relationship between state and citizen, it extends inequality, prejudice, stigma and outgrouping, with damaging consequences for sociopolitical inclusion, self-perception and selfhood.


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