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The archipelago of intervention: governing the awkward citizen

JAMIESON, ROBIN,F,N (2012) The archipelago of intervention: governing the awkward citizen. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This doctoral thesis examines the changing ways in which the neoliberal state looks to engage with populations of marginalised, excluded and ‘awkward citizens’. Whilst some have argued that the neoliberal state has abandoned and/or adopted a punitive and revanchist stance towards ‘awkward citizens’, this thesis demonstrates that an ‘archipelago of intervention’ has developed which is dirigiste in nature and represents a manifold of assistive and regressive techniques of government. Targeting individuals defined as ‘problematic’ (those with ‘chaotic lifestyles’: substance misuse issues, offending behaviour, vulnerably housed males) the archipelago of intervention represents a spatially expansive, ideationally disparate and operationally intense project of marginal social welfare. In order to more closely analyse these evolving practices of intervention, three case studies are examined through the lens of Foucauldian governmentality: one-to-one case working aimed at those with chaotic lifestyles; two ‘Supported Accommodation’ projects for vulnerably housed males; and the ‘Unpaid Work’/Community Payback order delivered by the Probation Service. Using interviews with service users, staff and managers combined with ethnographies undertaken in Supported Accommodation projects and Visible Unpaid Work sites, the thesis demonstrates how these interventions share a commitment to working with individuals through consent rather than coercion. Located at the cutting edge of ‘roll out’ neoliberal social policy, the thesis shows how these techniques of government operate to reform the subjectivities of their target population through the application of ‘psy’ techniques, contractual governance, embodied discipline and re-worked ideas about the rehabilitation of offenders. Drawing on Lefebvre, space and time emerge as central problematics in attempts to govern awkward citizens. Each case study intervention is shown to carve out re-worked spatio-temporalities which are held to be generative of behavioural and attitudinal reform. Thus, the thesis makes an important contribution to debates on the unfolding neoliberalisation of the state and social policy by pointing to the complex assemblages of power and multiple practices through which the state governs problematic populations. Moreover, the PhD also contributes to theoretical debates around the idea of ‘governmentality’ by arguing for a geographically sensitive and materially open approach to systems of governance.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:"governmentality"; "intervention"; "Lefebvre"; "Foucault"; "neoliberalism"
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Geography, Department of
Thesis Date:2012
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:07 Jun 2012 10:47

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