Underpinned by the idea of the right to a ‘basic minimum’, welfare states are a major feature of many societies. However, the lived experiences of persons seeking and receiving welfare payments can often be overlooked.
This book seeks to remedy this omission by honouring lived experience as valuable, insightful and necessary. It draws on qualitative interviews with 19 people receiving various working age welfare payments in Ireland to explore stigma, social reciprocity and the notions of the deserving and undeserving poor, and to analyse welfare conditionality in the Irish context.
Breaking new ground, this book offers original research findings which contest and inform policy both within Ireland and beyond.
"Joe Whelan’s book is a visceral snapshot of the largely negative lived experience of welfare recipiency. Giving voice to hidden lives at the margins of Irish society, it provides critically important insights into experience of Irish welfare space." Mary Murphy, Maynooth University
“Joe Whelan reveals another facet of the hidden Ireland, and this book gives an articulate and dignified voice to the voiceless. Hidden Voices is convincing in its originality, scholarship and confident grasp of the literature.” Cathal O’Connell, University College Cork
"What is life at the economic margins of the Irish state? Whelan offers important insights into this experience based on interviews with individuals navigating the complex worlds of work and welfare in Ireland." Evelyn Brodkin, University of Chicago
Joe Whelan is Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work and Social Policy at Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin.
Foreword by Fred Powell
1. Setting the Stage: The Development of the Irish Welfare State and its Place in the World of Welfare
2. Welfare, Marginality and Social Liminality: Life in the Welfare ‘Space’
3. The Effect of the Work Ethic
4. Welfare Conditionality
5. Maintaining Compliance and Engaging in Impression Management
6. Deservingness: Othering, Self-Justification and the Norm of Reciprocity
7. Welfare is 'Bad' Bringing It All Together
8. COVID-19: Policy Responses and Lived Experiences