Social solidarity and the power of contract

Veitch, Kenneth (2011) Social solidarity and the power of contract. Journal of Law and Society, 38 (2). pp. 189-214. ISSN 0263-323X

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This article explores what social policy contracts reveal about contemporary forms of social solidarity, and what they tell us about the nature of social cohesion in Western societies today. Taking the workfare contract as its point of departure, and drawing on Emile Durkheim's work, it is argued that social policy contracts disclose elements of mechanical and organic social solidarity. They function in both punitive and restitutive ways, their exclusionary and inclusive features acting as important sources of contemporary social solidarity. By reference to empirical evidence regarding workfare in various countries, the article highlights the importance of structural factors in determining the success of this policy. It is argued that the moralistic nature of the workfare contract, and the forms of social solidarity it expresses, obscures these deeper structural issues, leaving in place the conditions necessary for the persistence of social suffering characteristic of the post-Keynesian era. The contention is that contract has a de-politicizing effect in the field of social policy.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Law
Depositing User: Kenneth Veitch
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 18:34
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 19:32

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