The ethics of the self and the social security discourse of the ‘jobseeker’
Rogers, R. 2002. The ethics of the self and the social security discourse of the ‘jobseeker’. PhD Thesis Brunel University
One primary significance of the Jobseeker’s Act and New Deal is that the invitation to seek out and where possible, obtain paid work is now all inclusive, extending to those individuals previously excluded from active participation in the labour market, such as lone parents, the disabled and long term unemployed. In addition to this, within New Labour discourse, individuals have a responsibility to be thoroughly self-governing and entrepreneurial in their jobseeking activities, and to engage with the discourse of ‘communitarianism’. Moreover, it is argued that although individuals have to be active in their jobseeking activities, they do not necessarily have to be successful in securing paid employment. With this, New Labour discourse articulates a new foundation for social inclusion that is not so much conditional on economic participation within the labour market as it is on an ethical engagement with communitarianism and ‘active citizenship’. This thesis argues that ‘social inclusion’ is now aligned to certain ‘moral’ and ‘ethical’ values as well as with economic activity, as jobseekers must now subscribe to the discourse of enterprise and marketability through continuously marketing themselves, and taking ‘active’ responsibility for their self management and the maintenance of their community. Consequently, this new discourse of social inclusion emphasises a value based notion of social inclusion at the expense of an economic or material notion, to which all members of society, regardless of class, material status and to some extent employment status, can (in theory) be included.
This thesis is concerned with identifying how ‘jobseekers’ have been made into subjects, how they are made thinkable and problematised within New Labour discourse. The implications of the Jobseekers Act and New Deal are related back to Foucaultian theories of late modern governmentality, whilst the methodological basis consists of a textually located discourse analytic approach, involving extensive reading and re-reading of official New Labour, Department for Education and Employment and Department for Social Security documentation.
|Keywords||Job seekers; Unemployed people; Identity; Self; New Deal; Jobseeker's Act; New Labour; Labour Party; Social inclusion; Ethics|
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|Deposited||14 Sep 2020|
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