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Social policy and the poverty-shame nexus Erika K. Gubrium Oslo & Akershus University College Department of Social Work, Child Welfare and Social Policy.

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Presentation on theme: "Social policy and the poverty-shame nexus Erika K. Gubrium Oslo & Akershus University College Department of Social Work, Child Welfare and Social Policy."— Presentation transcript:

1 Social policy and the poverty-shame nexus Erika K. Gubrium Oslo & Akershus University College Department of Social Work, Child Welfare and Social Policy

2 The Shame of It: Global Perspectives on Anti-poverty Policy Erika K. Gubrium, Sony Pellissery, Ivar Lødemel (Eds) Policy Press, December 2013 The 6th principle of Recommendation 202: ‘respect for the rights and dignity of people covered by the social security guarantees’ 1.How has this worked, in policy making and practice? 2.What does policy do for recipients?

3 The Shame of It: Global Perspectives on Anti-poverty Policy Erika K. Gubrium, Sony Pellissery, Ivar Lødemel (Eds) Policy Press, December 2013 The 6th principle of Recommendation 202: ‘respect for the rights and dignity of people covered by the social security guarantees’ 1.How has this worked, in policy making and practice? to 2.What does policy do to recipients? 3.What are implications as we move forward?

4 The Shame of Poverty: Shame, social exclusion and the effectiveness of anti- poverty programmes: A study in seven countries ESRC/DfID, Robert Walker (Oxford) (China, India, Norway, Pakistan, S. Korea, Uganda, UK)

5 May be how poverty is often felt/experienced If commonly experienced, may provide an equivalent concept and metric for global discourse on poverty (beyond income) If robustly negative and ‘incapacitating’ (Ho et al., 2004), it impacts on health, welfare, disability and rehabilitation Policy that is shaming is self-defeating Policy that is shaming is self-defeating Why is shame important?

6 6 Low social capital Poverty Low self worth Shame (ashamed) Lack of agency Social exclusion Shaming Society The poverty/shame nexus?

7 Dominant notions of poverty & shame 1 Experiences of individuals in poverty 2 Perspectives of the ‘general public’ 3 Policy analysis (social interaction) 4 Research Aims & Design

8 2012 ILO Resolution 202 – Respect for the rights and dignity of people covered by the social security guarantees Resolution of the UN General Assembly – Respect for the inherent dignity of those living in poverty must inform all public policies. – State agents and private individuals must respect the dignity of all, avoid stigmatization and prejudices, and recognize and support the efforts that those living in poverty are making to improve their lives… 8 Global context & policy response

9 Shaming and dignity-building as linked to: 1.Policy framing: social contexts/understandings/ discourses on poverty, broader political goals guiding the policymaking process 2.Shaping and structuring: how the relevant policies came into existence and what they look like (objectives, resource distribution, adequacy of benefits) 3.Delivery: how policies have been implemented and prioritised (delivery, access, administration, eligibility, conditionality, abuse/corruption) 3 Policy ‘Moments’

10 1.In all settings: Shaming occurs & its impact reaches across the policy cycle – framing, shaping, delivery 2.‘Earlier’ policy cycle moments may change the way that policy delivery takes shape & is experienced 3.Distinctions to differentiate the undeserving from the deserving (strict eligibility, conditionality and restricted social citizenship) are a key source of shaming Key Findings

11 1.The social matters – focus on social divisions and social context over ‘troubled’ individuals 2.Mismatch between strategy and reality – infrastructural weakness, deep social divisions, corruption, assumptions concerning target groups 3.Shaming via conditionality – the paternalism of assumed ‘needs’ and ‘choices’, reduced benefits, increased discretion, new possibility for corruption process Focus on process as well as outcome Policy Implications (Moving forward)

12 India: Sony Pellissery Uganda: Grace Bantebya Kyomuhendo Norway: Erika Gubrium Case ‘stories’

13 India Sony Pellissery National Law University, Bangalore

14 Context Hugely hierarchical society – caste & class. Wide spread poverty and inequality Flawed democracy (less informed as well as identity politics determining the political space). No social contract (fragmented society) and limited legitimacy for the State.

15 Framing Prior to economic liberalization, ‘social life’ and ‘social institutions’ were considered as objects to be changed in the pursuit of development. In recent times, ‘social life’ is seen as a means to achieve development. Thus societal values (e.g. hierarchical society, gendered labour market) are legitimized through policy instrumentalization.

16 Shaping and Structuring Clientalist approach to poverty alleviation: anti-poverty programmes announced as a vote-gathering instrument. Indian state’s policies guided by dominant social forces (paradox of ‘hunger with surplus food’).

17 Implementation Corruption reduces the moral worthiness of participation in most of the programmes (eg. Entry into below poverty line list; access to employment guarantee). Poor quality government services (health, education, food provision) seen as ‘last humiliating resort’ for the poor people while the rich proudly exits them.

18 “Those who are lazy and do not want to do any work go and stand at the NREGA work site all day and collect wages. On private farms they are closely monitored and they can’t be so lazy”.

19 Food that Can not be Eaten : Uganda’s Anti-Poverty Policies Grace B Kyomuhendo School of Women and Gender Studies Makerere University

20 Uganda country context High levels of poverty Below the poverty line 24% (7.5 million); non poor but insecure 42.5% Most absolute poor are in rural areas (27.2%). Agriculture the mainstay of the economy.. Poverty and vulnerability reduction part of the national dev strategy Current focus: econ transformation and wealth creation 20

21 Reducing Poverty Levels

22 Forms and manifestations of Poverty Household wellbeing and survival..may lead to kusara, kuhemuka Schooling of children Material possessions Land ownership.. Poor sanitation Social Exclusion

23 Main antipoverty programmes/policies The 1997 Decentralization The 1998/99 Poverty Action Fund The 1997 Universal Primary Education The 2000 Plan for Modernization of Agriculture The 2001 NAADS The 2000 Rural Electrification programme - The 2005 Prosperity for All The 2007 Universal Secondary Education (USE)

24 Anti-poverty programs Universal Primary and secondary Education (UPE 1997 and USE 2007) – equitable access to quality and affordable education to all Ugandans; Plan for Modernization of Agriculture…(PMA).. NAADS – A vision of poverty eradication through profitable, competitive, and dynamic agricultural and agro-industrial sector

25 Structuring UPE Policy Government committed – Tuition fees for four children per family, later on all children of school going age – Instructional materials in the form of text books. – construction of basic physical facilities in form of classrooms, laboratories, libraries and teachers’ houses – Train teachers & Pay their salaries. – Other costs - transport, uniforms among others remained the responsibility of families.

26 Delivery of the UPE Policy/Program Enrollment rate rose from 77 percent in 1996 to 137 percent in “access shock”

27 UPE policy: invisible shame Overall policy language, target and emphasis placed on eliminating disparities and inequalities in access, and achieving gender parity in enrollment.. Targeting poor families BUT ignored the potential aspects of poverty shame

28 “Access Shock” – Academic and other standards plummet, – Differences between children from the poor and relatively rich families started to emerge. – Despite free tuition some pupils often had to do without school essentials like uniform, lunch, scholastic materials especially exercise books and pens – Private Vs Public UPE schools became a popular public rhetoric; with differences triggering negative, internalized feelings of shame, inadequacy, low self worth and anger among UPE children

29 “Access Shock” Public sentiments of UPE as Bonabasome (education for all) soon degenerated to Bonabakone (illiteracy/mediocrity for all); a derogatory, undignifying phrase that both the poor pupils and their respective families described as particularly shaming UPE Schools became unavoidable arenas of poverty induced shaming.

30 Children’s Experience of poverty M y friends report to school early, because they have no chores to do at home. They have pocket money for lunch, ride bicycles to school and have calculators. I lack all these. I feel ashamed (mpurra ninswara)” (Case C30) “Unlike me, my friends dress well. They dress smartly in good uniform, shoes and belts. They carry school bags. They have mathematical sets and enough pens. They come to school with pocket money for lunch. I stay hungry at school. Sometimes I feel annoyed and humiliated (haroho obu mpura ekiniga n’okuswara.)” (Case C28)

31 The Case of NAADS Program structured to take into consideration the particular needs, constraints and resources of economically vulnerable farmers in order to generate practical options for improvement To increasing the proportion of market- oriented production by empowering farmers to demand and control agricultural advisory and information services.

32 NAADS Principles and activities targeting the economically active poor— those with limited physical and financial assets, skills, and knowledge rather than destitute or large scale farmers—through farmers’ forums based on specific profitable enterprises, which makes the program enterprise based.

33 Farmer groups Co-funding as a preliquisite to NAADS Membership – NAADS targets active poor farmers who are members of registered groups, who own land and are willing to co-fund and engage in farming as a business. (Namara, 2009;172) This requirement excludes most households without land.

34 NAADS: spaces and pointers to poverty shame NAADS programme as an arena of poverty induced shaming – – Meetings where the poor farmers lack voice, – Poor Members openly ridiculed and put down by their better off counterparts. – NAADS was, indeed, not well matched to the realities and wellbeing of the rural poor, who live from hand to mouth and often subsist on casual labour

35 Voice of the Poor an immediate neighbour who is better off and has greater voice in the community took the piglets meant for me. If I was not poor, this would not have happened. When I complained, they just laughed at me, saying that after all I have no means to raise the piglets. I felt humiliated and worthless and inferior.

36 Experiences of poverty Shame I keep quiet with all my problems in my heart. Yes, the heart is like a suitcase, it keeps all problems. For instance now you [interviewer] is the only outsider who knows that my house is bare of basics including a chair, table, and even bed.” “…poverty cannot be hidden. It’s like a shadow that always trails the poor. When interacting with a poor person, you should be aware of their invisible but inseparable ‘shadow’. It affects the way they respond especially when talking about poverty.”

37 Conclusion policies have been explicitly framed in a manner seeking not only to address poverty, but also to promote human dignity, their structuring and delivery fall far short of attaining this noble objective lack of attention to non income aspects of poverty in design, structuring and implementation may lead to poverty shame leading to major impediments in their implementation processes.

38 Government poverty eradication programs were described as “food that can not be eaten”

39 ‘Not good enough’: Building dignity in Norwegian social assistance Erika K. Gubrium Oslo & Akershus University College

40 Norway (Framing) Small population: 5 million Redistributive tax system + oil High median income: $53,860 (2010) – yet costs are high High income equality: Gini coefficient (2010) of (3 rd ) – yet has increased in past decade Employment: over 75% (2011) – yet almost half employed women are part-time

41 Best case: Social mobility in a generous welfare state Since WWII: free education and healthcare. Broad and generous social insurance benefits targeted to varying risk categories of all social/income classes, without means-testing: BUT: Norway is not a purely universal welfare state. Many national social insurance benefits depend on a history of gainful employment.

42 Relative Poverty in Norway Relative income poverty: 1)The poverty rate – proportion of those whose income falls below the poverty line (half median household income) On the rise: 1980s % median6.4%7.8% 60% median12.2%13.3%

43 Relative Poverty in Norway Relative income poverty: 1)The poverty rate 2)The poverty gap - the distance between the mean income of individuals in poverty and the poverty line Norway is fairly unique: its poverty rate is relatively low, yet its poverty gap is relatively high. High income, high employment, low poverty, high relative intensity of poverty How does this play out in a relational sense?

44 Heightened shame in a generous welfare state “I think in a way that people look down on people who aren’t in work – ‘why don’t you work? There has to be a reason for it’...not everyone knows how it is to hit the wall. …they don’t understand that it can take a long time” (Wenche). “I don’t hang out with friends…I feel like I can’t hang out with people before I’ve gotten a job. …I mean, everyone thinks that I have a job…When I meet some people...and they ask me where I’ve been, I say…’I’ve been at work, I just have to deliver a note to (the welfare office)’. …I don’t want people to see me like that. As pitiful, and such” (Gabriel).

45 Heightened shame in a generous welfare state (Framing meets delivery) “Having little money is shameful in a society where ‘everyone’ is thought to be rich and contributes to making poverty an individual problem that must be kept secret and tackled by individuals” (Aamodt, 2008). “It’s definitely shame I feel. Year after year after year after year. It’s shame…one has to experience it to say it…I don’t need to think it over…that I’m a burden for other people, I can just go to the social assistance office, and get the evil eye there. Yeah…can anyone be proud of going to the social assistance office and asking for money?” (Kari Anne).

46 Social Insurance Social Assistance WELFARE SYSTEM HIERARCHY Two-tiered system: regulated by different laws, with significantly weaker rights for social assistance A Hierarchy of Welfare Provision (Structure) Poverty Marginalized Social Assistance 2.5% of population: 40% are “long term” claimants 1964 Social Care Act: - Replaces Poor Law, but retains many ideas - Temporary, “help to self help” Programming status by early 2000s: - Supply side /labor force entry focus (if any) - Limited and locally provided, primarily workfare Benefits: locally provided and discretionary (means- tested). On average: comparatively high (but not high enough). ≈

47 Social Insurance Social Assistance WELFARE SYSTEM HIERARCHY The Qualification Programme (2007) Welfare system (NAV) reform in Premise: creating a more “user friendly” and “efficient” system State developed and funded programme targeted to “eligible” SA claimants (long-term claimants) Promise of more for participants -Customized courses & internships: focus on human capital -Higher, stable ‘paycheck’, paid by local government office -That “job feeling”: Regular work day and regular work rights and duties (vacation, taxed, pension accruing) Work Qualification Programme Work

48 Social Insurance Social Assistance WELFARE SYSTEM HIERARCHY The Qualification Programme (2007) New social assistance hierarchy based on employability over need What happens to those who remain on regular social assistance? New possibility for heightened shame by users who already experience shame due to their difficulties in “making ends meet” in a society where everyone is assumed to be doing fairly well. Work Qualification Programme Work

49 Social Insurance Social Assistance WELFARE SYSTEM HIERARCHY The Qualification Programme (2007) What happens to those who enter the Qualification Programme? It depends: “The biggest joy of mine, in the last year, was to go from being a social assistance client…the worst time, to come into the QP-programme, and get a wage and such. It…was a big step for me, and it was so enjoyable…from not having any self-confidence at all, to like know that you’ve begun to build self-confidence, and feel that you are a person who’s contributing” (Thomas) Work Qualification Programme Work

50 Social Insurance Social Assistance WELFARE SYSTEM HIERARCHY The Qualification Programme (2007) What happens to those who enter the Qualification Programme? It depends: ‘Permanent entry’ (Leibetseder, 2013): The whole time I’ve only gotten internship, internship, internship... Why have I not been hired? …I received an award because I’m a very skilled worker…but they won’t hire me …They just say that it’s only a seasonal job..and the employer offers me another internship. I never get hired, I’ve worked like a slave and worked each and every day, …[but] it’s free for them” (Pouneh). Work Qualification Programme Work

51 Dignity building in a generous welfare state Norway can afford to “think bigger”: -Supply side focus countered by demand side regulations/encouragement (internships) -“Whole package” incentives -State-indexed guaranteed minimum benefit -Mechanisms for increasing claimant participation when developing service offering Thank you.


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