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'Problem family' representations: the construction of intergenerational disadvantage in policy

Flanagan, K ORCID: 0000-0002-5585-2871 2022 , ''Problem family' representations: the construction of intergenerational disadvantage in policy', in K Soldatic and L St Guillaume (eds.), Social Suffering in the Neoliberal: Age State Power, Logics and Resistance , Routledge, London, UK, pp. 11-27.

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The idea of ‘intergenerational disadvantage’ locates the problem of disadvantage within the family, turning the family into the problem. Previous research has shown how so-called ‘problem family’ discourse has been configured over time, including its intersection with eugenics. ‘Problem family’ discourse underpins repeated attempts to identify and classify families by collating administrative data and to appropriate the home as a site of rehabilitative intervention. However, the digitisation of government practice has altered these practices in new and troubling ways. In this exploratory paper, I apply Carol Bacchi’s theory of ‘problem representations’ to an aspect of Australian welfare policy: the Try, Test, and Learn Fund, part of the Priority Investment Approach. Through an analysis of policy documents, I show how Try, Test and Learn constructs its subjects, ‘young parents’, in ways consistent with older forms of problem family discourse, and thus potentially consistent with their harms.

Item Type: Book Section
Authors/Creators:Flanagan, K
Keywords: intergenerational disadvantage, 'problem' families, 'what's the problem represented to be'
Publisher: Routledge
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Copyright 2022 Routledge

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