POSTPONED TILL SEPTEMBER Dr. Lynne Friedli Talking on the Misuse of Psychology in Government Workfare Programmes

Event Details

POSTPONED TILL SEPTEMBER Dr. Lynne Friedli Talking on the Misuse of Psychology in Government Workfare Programmes

Time: July 29, 2015 from 6:30pm to 9pm
Location: London Exact venue TBC
City/Town: London
Event Type: talk, and, workshop
Organized By: Sally Z
Latest Activity: Jul 30, 2015

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Event Description

Lynne will be talking about the role of psychology in welfare reforms and the workfare programme, as well as her broader interest in mental health and social inequalities.

Biography

Dr Lynne Friedli is a freelance researcher with a special interest in the relationship between mental health and the struggle for social justice. She is author of a report for WHO Europe on mental health, resilience and inequality and has contributed to the forthcoming WHO Europe Strategy on Mental Health.

http://www.euro.who.int/document/e92227.pdf

Lynne is interested in current debates about the politics of ‘assets based approaches’ and the psychologising of public health, and is currently researching the use of psychological approaches in workfare and other employment programmes.

Here is an abstract from a similar recent talk by Lynne...expect similar themes in her talk to us.

I am concerned with the growing influence of psychology and the role of psycho-policy in formulating and gaining consent for the current regime of welfare reform, notably in the roll out of the Department for Work and Pensions Workfare programme. What emerges is the construction of a psychological ideal that embodies the norms and values of privilege and wealth in neo-liberal Britain, (notably possession of relentlessly positive affect), and labels dissent or deviation from this model both maladaptive and unhealthy. 

The ostensibly scientific model that validates certain attributes: ‘the right kind of affect’ serves to legitimize the imposition of compulsory positive affect through a wide range of coercive and punitive health and welfare interventions targeting deprived communities.

Preferring psycho-analysis to economic analysis has serious consequences for how we explain and respond to issues of social justice. It also has a specific impact on people claiming unemployment related social security. ‘Employability’ is now less a set of skills than a mindset, enforced through psycho-compulsions (mandatory training, psychological referral, psychometric testing, psycho-sanctioning e.g. for ‘lack of motivation’) that form a central plank in the management and governance of a wide range of ‘unproductive’ or failing citizens i.e. those who are out of work, not working enough, not earning enough and/or failing to seek work with sufficient application.

The participation of psychology, aided and abetted by public health, in the delivery of coercive goals clearly raises ethical questions – questions largely unasked and hence unanswered, in the research literature. I very much welcome this opportunity for discussion and debate about the impact of psychological coercion through workfare, the role of psychology in stigmatising the behaviour and existence of poor citizens and the issues of complicity that this whole agenda raises.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09581596.2012.748882

http://centreformedicalhumanities.org/whistle-while-you-work-for-nothing-positive-affect-as-coercive-strategy-the-case-of-workfare/

Comment Wall

Comment by Sally Z on July 27, 2015 at 16:14

Apologies to everyone, unfortunately Lynne has had to cancel this talk at short notice - she will be rescheduling for September and I will post back on here as soon as I have new dates. Lynne was very apologetic. She continues to do an amazing job of critiquing the government's welfare reforms.

Comment by Reza Zolfagharifard on July 28, 2015 at 21:35

Thanks a lot Sally. I look forward to the new date for her talk. 

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