The ‘right to welfare’ in a new age of destitution

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


TH Marshall’s conception of social citizenship is closely linked with the replacement of a patchy, unreliable, discretionary and highly stigmatised range of services for the relief of poverty with a comprehensive welfare state between 1911 and 1948. As social security reforms, driven by austerity and a negative construction of claimants, turn the focus back on local government and the voluntary sector for the support of the ‘undeserving’ migrant and unemployed poor, this paper asks what has become of Marshall’s ‘right to welfare’ in the 21st century. Drawing findings from an ongoing study of destitution in the UK, it examines the experiences of those for whom – due to gaps in the safety net or the exercise of decision maker discretion – the fulfilment of social ‘rights’ is once again becoming dependent on knowing where to seek support, having access to the right gatekeeper and enduring social stigma.
Period9 Mar 2018
Event titleEconomic and Social Rights Academic Network UK and Ireland (ESRAN-UKI) March 2018
Event typeConference
LocationLondon, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational


  • citizenship
  • destitution
  • poverty
  • welfare state
  • social security