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New Welfare Ethics and the Remaking of Moral Identities in an Era of User Involvement

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article numbern/a
Pages (from-to)507-517
Number of pages11
JournalGlobalisation, Societies and Education
Issue number4
Published23 Nov 2012

King's Authors


The shift towards greater user involvement in welfare provision is typically couched by its advocates as being ethically straightforward and as an unalloyed good, because it represents a transformation of users from a role of passivity and dependence on the paternalism of professionals to more active, empowered and respected autonomous persons. This paper problematises this reading, showing how it fails to represent the ethical complications of partnership working in welfare relationships and how it privileges individualist over more relational and political forms of involvement. In doing so, the paper also seeks to demonstrate some of the ways critical sociological perspectives on changing welfare relationships might be strengthened by a focus on the ethics of practical agency.

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