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A critical analysis of approaches to the concept of social identity in social policy

Hunter, S. (2003) A critical analysis of approaches to the concept of social identity in social policy. Critical Social Policy, 23 (3). pp. 322-344. ISSN 1461-703X

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This article seeks both to highlight a current imbalance in approaches to social identity in social policy, and to make suggestions as to how this might be redressed in future work employing the concept. The concept of identity and specifically social identity is increasingly employed in the discipline of social policy as a theoretical device with which to bridge the individual/social divide. The argument presented here suggests that the concept is however, unevenly deployed in policy analysis and, therefore lacks the force of impact it might otherwise have had. The predominant focus of current analysis lies in policy change precipitated by groups of ‘new,’ active welfare constituents organised around differentiated and fragmented social identities, whereas the identities of welfare professionals also involved in policy making process have disappeared from analytical view. The current emphasis on the discursive context for policy formulation, perpetuates an unacknowledged misconception concerning the asociality of those involved in policy making, where their principal role is perceived as the maintenance of the status quo in terms of social policy responses to welfare constituents needs. Redressing this false dichotomy between those developing and those using welfare services might be avoided by further exploring the concept of relational identity.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2003 Critical Social Policy Ltd. This is an author produced version of a paper published in Critical Social Policy.
Keywords: difference, sameness, welfare professional, welfare subject
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Sociology and Social Policy (Leeds)
Depositing User: Repository Officer
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2006
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2014 17:27
Published Version: http://csp.sagepub.com/cgi/content/refs/23/3/322
Status: Published
Publisher: Sage Publications
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1177/02610183030233002
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1472

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