Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Employment and Support Allowance: State Craftin...
View graph of relations

Employment and Support Allowance: State Crafting the “Disability Category”

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNConference contribution/Paperpeer-review

Publication date11/09/2018
Host publicationCentre for Disability Research (CeDR) Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>Undefined/Unknown


The aim of this study was to uncover and then interpret the ideologies which are implicit in two government Green Paper documents relating to the introduction and development of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) policy over a ten-year period. The paper is particularly concerned with the language of politics as a discourse, and the ways in which successive governments have used discourse and concepts to strategically manufacture doubt with respect to the causes of the “disability employment gap” and the implementation of social security reform. By analysing changing discourses of policy texts over time, we can identify ideological change in policy constructs to explain how ESA was and continues to be justified. By looking at the discourse more critically one begins to question whether a rhetorical shift away from a primary concern with the associated costs linked to benefit levels and the disability employment gap is a deliberate political strategy linked to a wider ideology of the “disability category”; which serves to obscure the contradictions of capitalism and thus sustain it (in the very specific Marxist sense of ideology). This paper broadens the analysis by examining the situational contextual factors shaping the introduction and development of ESA, providing a timely contribution to ongoing contemporary debates about the meaning and “problem” of social security dependency.