Welfare, Conditional Citizenship and the Neuroliberal State – Conference presentation

Politics and Insights


Full conference programme – Psychologists and the Benefits System.


The consolidation of neoliberalism with Conservative moral authoritarianism has resulted in welfare policy design with a reductive and punitive behaviour change agenda. This decontextualises citizens and personalises responsibility for circumstances of socioeconomic hardship. 

The emergent psychopolitical form of governance, founded on expressions of an established hierarchy of power and influence, has some profound implications for traditional notions of welfare, democracy, cognitive autonomy, citizen agency, equality and human rights. Not only does this behaviourist mode of administration fundamentally change the relationship between state and citizen, it extends inequality, prejudice, stigma and outgrouping, with damaging consequences for sociopolitical inclusion, self-perception and selfhood. 

Introduction: context, subjectivity and neoliberalism 

R.D Laing once said that madness was a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane society. 

The parameters of psychological experience are defined by cultural, social, economic and political structures. Context…

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