The Social Legitimacy of Targeted Welfare
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The Social Legitimacy of Targeted Welfare

Attitudes to Welfare Deservingness

Edited by Wim van Oorschot, Femke Roosma, Bart Meuleman and Tim Reeskens

This book addresses new perspectives on the perceived popular deservingness of target groups of social services and benefits, offering new insights and analysis to this quickly developing field of welfare attitudes research. It provides an up-to-date state of the art in terms of concepts, theories, research methods and data. The book offers a multi-disciplinary view on deservingness attitudes, with contributions from sociology, political science, media studies and social psychology. It links up with central welfare state debates about the allocation of collective resources between groups with particular needs, and wider categories of need.
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Chapter 10: The Deservingness Logic Applied to Public Opinions Concerning Work Obligations for Benefit Claimants

Femke Roosma and Marjolein Jeene


Scholars in the field of welfare state attitudes generally examine support for the distribution of welfare, and support for social policies and the related entitlements of needy citizens (Meier Jæger, 2006, 2007; Roller, 1995). Despite the fact that in recent decades these welfare policies have tended to emphasize more and more the activation of welfare beneficiaries and related benefit obligations (Gilbert, 2004; Lødemel and Trickey, 2001; Serrano Pascual and Magnusson, 2007), studies analysing support for activation policies remain scarce. Activation policies may take various forms, but they share a perspective in which citizens are no longer primarily considered as subjects with social rights, but as subjects with social rights and obligations regarding, for example, active job seeking, participating in training programmes, subsidized work and work experience. Therefore, although ‘activation’ is currently an attribute of many welfare benefits (Gilbert, 2004), there is a substantial lack of knowledge regarding the perceived social legitimacy of these policies.

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