Université de Strasbourg

Controlling the entitled

Controlling the entitled: a new watchword of the welfare state?

USIAS Fellow: Vincent Dubois

Among numerous innovations and changes, welfare reform in western countries has recently revitalized welfare control, defined as the institutional arrangements and practices aimed at checking that recipients comply with the rules of welfare benefits. Why did this revival of control occur? How has welfare fraud been constructed and promoted as a public problem? How has a bureaucratic routine been raised to the status of a political and policy issue? How is control organized and implemented? What are its impacts on the lives of the recipients? By addressing these questions, this research provides an original contribution to the analysis of the new balance between politics, economics and morals that define the contemporary social state. It shows how legal regulation, financial constraints, surveillance technologies and direct interactions between bureaucrats and clients intertwine in the new government of the underprivileged. This project is based on empirical research on the French case, set in an international perspective, from the 1990s to the present. It focuses on the control of minimum benefits recipients and on the control of the unemployed.

France 2030