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Personalised conditionality: observations on active proletarianisation in late modern Britain

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date06/2012
JournalCapital and Class
Number of pages19
Original languageEnglish


This paper examines the development of the idea ‘personalised conditionality’
in social security policy in Britain through the report, Realising Potential,
commissioned by the last of the 1997-2010 Labour governments and the
documents and policies of the coalition government formed after the 2010
general election. Using the idea of active proletarianisation from Offe (1984),
the paper argues that ‘personalised conditionality’ is part of a long and ignoble
policy tradition that has criminalised workless people and held them responsible
for their lack of work as a means of discouraging worklessness and forms of
subsistence outside of paid work. The tensions in such a policy are discussed
and it is concluded that the consequence of ‘personalised conditionality’ may be
to detach increasing numbers of people from labour markets, rather than active