General Article Are 'cultures of worklessness' passed down the generations?

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This research was undertaken with families in neighbourhoods of Glasgow and Middlesbrough who had experienced extensive worklessness. Qualitative life-history interviews with different generations of the same family allowed us to investigate the extent to which long-term detachment from the labour market might be accounted for by a ‘culture of worklessness’.


The aims and background of the research

The idea that worklessness can be explained, at least in part, by the familial inheritance of values and practices that discourage employment and encourage welfare dependency, is a powerful one. Indeed, much UK policy thinking continues to be based on the premise that workless people can become dependent on welfare and that this dependence is passed on between different generations within families, particularly in neighbourhoods where high rates of worklessness prevail. Through a critical case study approach, using methods and research sites most likely to reveal ‘intergenerational cultu...

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