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From expectations to aspirations: State modernisation, urban policy, and the existential politics of welfare in the UK

Raco, M; (2009) From expectations to aspirations: State modernisation, urban policy, and the existential politics of welfare in the UK. Political Geography , 28 (7) pp. 436-444. 10.1016/j.polgeo.2009.10.009.

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Abstract

The form and character of the British welfare state is undergoing another round of reform. Welfare modernisation now focuses on the creation of 'aspirational citizens' in deprived areas or communities, individuals, and groups who will 'better' themselves and become more like an imagined social 'mainstream'. Old-fashioned policies that promoted expectations of improvement have been replaced by this focus on encouraging new forms of self-reliant, aspirational citizenship. This paper interrogates the nature of this discursive shift. It argues that an existential politics, built around notions of aspiration, is being rolled-out across the British welfare state and that this has significant material and political implications. It begins by critically assessing the terms aspiration and expectation. It then draws on recent urban and spatial policy agendas to empirically explore the nature of this shift and its wider effects on urban societies, economies, and environments before concluding with a discussion of possible future research directions and agendas. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Type: Article
Title: From expectations to aspirations: State modernisation, urban policy, and the existential politics of welfare in the UK
DOI: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2009.10.009
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > The Bartlett School of Planning
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1323881
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