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Punitive welfare conditionality, combining tough sanctions with minimal self-directed support, is a defining feature of contemporary UK working age social security provision. This approach has been justified by policy makers on the basis that it will increase the numbers in paid employment, and thereby offer savings for the public purse that are also beneficial for individuals who are expected to be healthier and better off financially as a result. In this article, we aggregate two qualitative longitudinal studies (Welfare Conditionality, 2014–17; and Lived Experience, 2011–16) that document lived experiences of claiming benefits and using back-to-work support services. In both studies and over time, we find, contrary to policy expectations, that coercion, including sanctions, was usually experienced as unnecessary and harmful and that poverty was prevalent, both in and out of work, tended to worsen and pushed many close to destitution. Conditionality governed encounters with employment services and, perversely, appeared to impede, rather than support, transitions into employment for participants in both studies. These constitute ‘shared typical’ aspects of lived experiences of welfare conditionality. We propose Combined Study Qualitative Longitudinal Research as a new methodological approach to extend inference beyond the usual study-specific confines of qualitative generalisation.
Drawing on participatory research with people living in poverty, this article details the possibilities inherent in this research tradition and its particular applicability and as yet often unrealised potential for poverty and social security research. The dominant framing of ‘welfare’ and poverty foregrounds elite political and politicised accounts, which place emphasis on individual and behavioural drivers of poverty, and imply that the receipt of ‘welfare’ is necessarily and inevitably problematic. A large body of academic evidence counters this framing, illustrating the extent to which popular characterisations are out of step with lived realities. What is often missing, however, are the voices and expertise of those directly affected by poverty and welfare reform. This article argues that placing experts by experience on poverty at the centre of research efforts is best understood as constituting a direct challenge to the marginalising and silencing of the voices and perspectives of people living in poverty. While this hints at participatory research’s great potential, it is vital also to recognise the inherent challenges of taking a participatory approach. Significantly, though, participatory research can undermine popular characterisations of poverty and welfare and provide opportunities for alternative narratives to emerge, narratives which could contribute to the building of a pro-welfare imaginary over time.
This article examines concurrence of self-reported love, trust, and dyadic quality experiences between partners in 293 male couples. Significant yet poor concurrence was observed for all three self-reported relationship measures, but varied by relationship characteristics. Using an actor-partner interdependence model (APIM), actor and partner characteristics were shown to be associated with self-reported relationship concerns, such as satisfaction and intimate partner violence. This knowledge is important in the development and delivery of couples-based health interventions, such as couples HIV testing and counselling, for interventions that respect the unique relationship dynamics of each couple are needed to effectively address dyadic health.
Since the global financial crisis in 2008, an ‘austerity consensus’ has emerged across many advanced capitalist economies (Farnsworth and Irving, 2012). Despite differing institutional settings, there has been a notable degree of convergence on fiscal consolidation (Farnsworth and Irving, 2012; Taylor-Gooby, 2012). Alongside this, political administrations have repeatedly claimed that welfare profligacy and dependency are key causes of public sector debt and economic stagnation. On this basis, political leaders have cultivated a policy mandate to re-configure working-age welfare and constrain public social expenditure in this domain. Taken together, these reforms represent a ‘new, more constrained and qualitatively different deal for citizens’ (Dwyer and Wright, 2014: 33). The central objective of this themed section is to explore the impact of these developments and their significance for the shifting character and operation of social citizenship in countries pursuing a similar strategy of ‘welfare austerity’ (MacLeavy, 2011: 360).
Drawing on a qualitative longitudinal study that examined experiences of welfare reform among a small group of recipients of out-of-work benefits, this paper considers how individuals’ social citizenship rights, responsibilities and status are all affected by processes of welfare reform. It discusses the ways in which welfare conditionality impacts upon targeted individuals’ citizenship status, noting a trend towards ‘conditioning’, where people seek to govern and manage their own behaviour(s) in order to meet the demands of contemporary citizenship. The paper considers the extent to which even a ‘modicum of economic welfare and security’ is now denied to so many Britons, concluding with a discussion of what if any emancipatory potential social citizenship still holds.
Mediation is often suggested as an important mechanism for resolving disputes without the costs, financial and psychological, of litigation. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a federal agency responsible for the major federal employment discrimination laws, developed a mediation program to help resolve charges that neither the agency nor private lawyers are likely to take on in litigation. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (CHFEH) also mediates these cases as a state deferral agency. Patrick McDermott and Ruth Obar report their empirical findings on whether representation by lawyers in mediations affects outcomes at the EEOC and CHFEH.
This chapter provides a quantitative analysis of the experience of claimants pursuing employment discrimination claims at mediation conducted under the auspices of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC mediation program offers pre-investigation mediation for certain cases. The agency's charge-intake process forms the foundation for the selection of these cases for mediation. Cases that appear to have merit at filing are classified as “A” charges; they usually are not eligible for mediation. These charges involve cases where a reasonable cause finding is highly likely or where important “pattern or practice”/systemic issues or other public policy concerns militate against the use of pre-investigation mediation. Where a party requests that an “A” charge be mediated, the District Director and Regional Director have the discretion to permit it.
Charges classified as “B” charges are charges where further investigation is required to make a determination concerning merit. In general, “B” cases are eligible for pre-investigation mediation. However, “B” cases that involve the Equal Pay Act or pattern-or-practice/systemic allegations are not eligible for pre-investigation mediation.
The present program evolved from a February 1991 EEOC pilot mediation program. The program was considered a success; the agency formed a mediation task force to explore the possibility of expanding the program. In 1995, the task force concluded that mediation was a viable process. The EEOC then adopted a policy statement concerning alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that included support for mediation. Using its experience with the pilot program, and the A-B-C classification system as the basis for selection of cases that were deemed appropriate for mediation, the ADR program evolved into its present configuration.
This paper presents findings from a qualitative longitudinal study into the lived experiences of welfare reform in the UK. The study set out to explore how individuals directly affected by changes to the benefits system experienced and responded to these reforms. A small group of out-of-work benefits claimants were interviewed three times between 2011 and 2013. The research found that ‘getting by’ on benefits often entailed substantial hard ‘work’, which was frequently time intensive, with many participants also engaged in other forms of socially valuable contribution such as caring and volunteering. A strong orientation towards paid employment was evident across most of the sample and fluid movements in and out of work, characteristic of the ‘low-pay, no-pay’ cycle, was quite common. Alongside a discussion of these findings, this paper considers the (mis)match between the government rhetoric of benefits as a ‘lifestyle choice’ and individual lived experiences.
A subproblem h-conformal eddy current finite element method is proposed for correcting the inaccuracies inherent to thin shell models. Such models replace volume thin regions by surfaces but neglect border effects in the vicinity of their edges and corners. The developed surface-to-volume correction problem is defined as a step of the multiple subproblems that can split a complete problem, consisting of inductors and magnetic or conducting regions, some of these being thin regions. The general case of multiply connected thin regions is considered.
We examined stand dynamics and biomass along an altitudinal gradient in a tropical montane forest (TMF) in the disturbance-prone Cordillera Central, Dominican Republic. We tested the general hypothesis that chronic disturbance by fire, wind, floods and landslides results in a landscape of relatively low above-ground biomass with high rates of mortality, recruitment and growth as compared with other TMFs. We also expected above-ground biomass to decrease with altitude in part due to declines in growth and increased biomass losses from mortality with increasing altitude. We resurveyed 75 0.1-ha plots distributed across the altitudinal gradient (1100–3100 m asl) 8 y after they were established. Our observations provided mixed evidence on these hypotheses. Turnover rates were high (> 2% y−1) and significantly greater on windward slopes. Above-ground biomass (mean = 306 Mg ha−1, 95% CI = 193–456 Mg ha−1) was highly variable but comparable to other TMFs. Altitudinal patterns of declining biomass and above-ground growth matched observations for other TMFs, whereas mortality and recruitment exhibited no altitudinal trends. More quantitative studies in a variety of TMF settings are needed to better understand how natural disturbance, complex environmental gradients and species dynamics interact to regulate carbon storage, sequestration and turnover across altitudinal gradients in TMFs.
This article considers the defensibility of the extension of conditionality to disabled people through a qualitative investigation of welfare service users’ opinions on the applicability of conditionality for disabled people. Three focus groups took place, with participants segmented according to whether or not they were disabled, to enable a comparison between the attitudes of those who would and would not be directly affected by the extension of conditionality analysed. The qualitative research undertaken demonstrates how much more the government must do before it can justifiably make disability benefit receipt conditional on participating in work-related activities.
Women with borderline personality disorder have conflictual interpersonal relations that may extend to disrupted patterns of interaction with their infants.
To assess how women with borderline personality disorder engage with their 12 to 18-month-old infants in separation–reunion episodes.
We videotaped mother–infant interactions in separation–reunion episodes of the Strange Situation test. The mothers were women with borderline personality disorder, with depression, or without psychopathological disorder. Masked ratings of maternal behaviour were made with the Atypical Maternal Behavior Instrument for Assessment and Classification.
As predicted, a higher proportion (85%) of women with borderline personality disorder than women in the comparison groups showed disrupted affective communication with their infants. They were also distinguished by the prevalence of frightened/disoriented behaviour.
Maternal borderline personality disorder is associated with dysregulated mother–infant communication.
The assessment of fetal growth is an essential component of good antenatal care, especially for twins. The aims of this study are to develop twin-specific intrauterine 'growth' charts, based on cross-sectional birthweight data, for monochorionic and dichorionic twins according to sex and parity, and to detect twins at risk for neonatal death by comparing the use of twin-specific and singleton charts. The study sample consisted of 76,471 singletons and 8454 twins (4227 pairs) born in East Flanders (Belgium). Birthweights were analyzed using a nonlinear Gaussian regression. After 33 weeks of gestation, the birthweights of twins started to deviate from singletons (difference of 900 grams at 42 weeks). Birthweights of dichorionic twins continued to increase, whereas those of monochorionic twins decreased after week 40 (difference of more than 300 g at 42 weeks). After 31 weeks of gestation, neonatal mortality increased as centile decreased, and was especially high if birthweight was below the twin-specific third centile: .032 (below) versus .007 (above). Using singleton centiles, this was less obvious. In conclusion, twin-specific growth charts, taking chorionicity into account, are more accurate to detect twins at risk for neonatal death. Therefore the presented charts, based on cross-sectional birthweight data, enable an improved assessment of twin growth.