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From transmitted deprivation to social exclusion

From transmitted deprivation to social exclusion: Policy, poverty, and parenting

John Welshman
Copyright Date: 2007
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  • Book Info
    From transmitted deprivation to social exclusion
    Book Description:

    John Welshman's new book fills a major gap in social policy: the history of debates over 'transmitted deprivation', and their relationship with current initiatives on social exclusion. The book explores the content and background to Sir Keith Joseph's famous 'cycle of deprivation' speech in 1972, examining his own personality and family background, his concern with 'problem families', and the wider policy context of the early 1970s. Tracing the direction taken by the DHSS-SSRC Research Programme on Transmitted Deprivation, it seeks to understand why the Programme was set up, and why it took the direction it did. With this background, the book explores New Labour's approach to child poverty, initiatives such as Sure Start, the influence of research on inter-generational continuities, and its new stance on social exclusion. The author argues that, while earlier writers have acknowledged the intellectual debt that New Labour owes to Joseph, and noted similarities between current policy approaches to child poverty and earlier debates, the Government's most recent attempts to tackle social exclusion mean that these continuities are now more striking than ever before. Making extensive use of archival sources, private papers, contemporary published documents, and oral interviews with retired civil servants and social scientists, Policy, Poverty and Parenting is the only book-length treatment of this important but neglected strand of the history of social policy. It will be of interest to students and researchers working on contemporary history, social policy, political science, public policy, sociology, and public health.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-256-9
    Subjects: Political Science, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. vii-vii)
  5. Timeline: from transmitted deprivation to social exclusion
    (pp. viii-xiv)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-22)

    The 35-year period covered by this book is framed by two speeches. The first was by Sir Keith Joseph (1918-94), then Secretary of State for Social Services, in London on 29 June 1972, and was given to the Pre-School Playgroups Association. In the speech, Joseph referred to a ‘cycle of deprivation’, and voiced a paradox: ‘why is it that, in spite of long periods of full employment and relative prosperity and the improvement in community services since the Second World War, deprivation and problems of maladjustment so conspicuously persist?’.¹ He acknowledged that deprivation was an imprecise term. But Joseph had...

  7. Part One: The cycle hypothesis

    • ONE Sir Keith Joseph and the cycle speech
      (pp. 25-50)

      The cycle of deprivation hypothesis is particularly associated with Sir Keith Joseph, and the then Secretary of State for Social Services gave three speeches on this theme in the period June 1972 to June 1973. The first, which was the most interesting and best known, was given on 29 June 1972, at a conference for local authorities organised by the Pre-School Playgroups Association, at Church House, Westminster, London. The second was given in Brighton, on 27 March 1973, at the Spring Study Seminar of the Association of Directors of Social Services. The third, which stressed the links between the cycle...

    • TWO From problem families to the cycle of deprivation
      (pp. 51-76)

      Whereas the previous chapter focused on the drafting and content of the cycle speech, this chapter attempts to explain its longer-term and more immediate origins. Earlier work has focused on the cycle of deprivation as a stepping stone in the longer-term history of the underclass. Among the most notable of these antecedents were the Charles Booth survey of London in the 1880s; studies of families such as the Jukes and the Kallikaks; the emphasis in the Wood Report (Board of Education and Board of Control, 1929) on a ‘social problem group’; the investigations of E.J. Lidbetter in the East End...

  8. Part Two: The Transmitted Deprivation Research Programme

    • THREE Conceptual difficulties: setting up the Research Programme
      (pp. 79-106)

      Whereas Part One of the book was concerned with Joseph and the cycle speech, Part Two explores the origins and direction of the Transmitted Deprivation Research Programme. One of the problems with the existing secondary literature is that very little is known about the period between the cycle speech (June 1972) and the launch of the Research Programme (May 1974). In his useful (1983a) article, Richard Berthoud, for example, moves quickly from the content of the speech itself, to the setting up of the Joint Working Party. He acknowledges the importance and impact of the literature review by Michael Rutter...

    • FOUR From a cycle of deprivation to cycles of disadvantage
      (pp. 107-138)

      The existing secondary accounts of the Research Programme, by Richard Berthoud (1983a) and Alan Deacon (2003), are based on the three published progress reports by the Working Party and on studies from the Programme itself, notably the final report by Muriel Brown and Nicola Madge (1982a). Berthoud has argued, for instance, that at the time of the cycle speech, the SSRC operated entirely in ‘responsive’ mode. It publicised its presence to the research community, and waited for social scientists to come up with projects. The SSRC had little experience of commissioning research, demand for funding was weak, and the nature...

    • FIVE The final years of the Research Programme
      (pp. 139-174)

      This chapter surveys the final years of the Research Programme, from the publication of the Third Report of the Joint Working Party, to the appearance of the first books in the Heinemann series in the early 1980s. The changing responsibilities of the Organising Group can be seen through its periodic progress reports to the Joint Working Party.

      In the spring and summer of 1977, for example, it was meeting fairly frequently, considering outline applications, looking at progress reports, and thinking about commissioning papers on subjects including race relations, education, housing, occupational status, the extent of deprivation, and the transmission of...

    • SIX Poverty, structure, and behaviour: three social scientists
      (pp. 175-204)

      The debate over transmitted deprivation offers intriguing insights into the perspectives of a generation of social scientists. Richard Berthoud has argued that the cycle hypothesis was a test of the ability of social scientists to contribute to a real debate. However, researchers who did not accept the myth that deviancy caused poverty were more concerned to argue that deviancy did not cause poverty than to ‘examine what the relationship is between these two families of social problem’ (Berthoud, 1983a, p 154). Alan Deacon has claimed similarly that, by the 1970s, the alleged rejection of individualist or behavioural accounts of poverty...

  9. Part Three: New Labour and the cycle of deprivation

    • SEVEN The broader context: social exclusion, poverty dynamics, and the revival of agency
      (pp. 207-232)

      At the end of Chapter Five, we noted the reaction to the Research Programme, when the Heinemann books began to appear in the early 1980s. Around the same time, and among academics and policy makers, the phrase ‘transmitted deprivation’ passed out of use, at least in Britain, and was replaced by that of ‘underclass’, later ‘social exclusion’, which is the term favoured by New Labour. The debates about the underclass, in both the US and Britain, cannot be dealt with here, and have in any case received much attention elsewhere (Welshman, 2006a, pp 127-82). Instead we jump forward 15 years...

    • EIGHT From transmitted deprivation to social exclusion
      (pp. 233-260)

      Continuities between the cycle speech, the Research Programme, and current policy can be explored in relation to government initiatives on social exclusion and child poverty. How far do these illustrate links between the policies endorsed by New Labour, and the earlier cycle of deprivation hypothesis? Alan Deacon (2003) has suggested that New Labour has been concerned to strike a balance between responsibility and opportunity. Its policy on child poverty provides a good example of the ‘third way’ on welfare. Thus the ending of child poverty is often presented less as an objective in itself, and more as a means of...

  10. Conclusion
    (pp. 261-270)

    This book has been framed by two speeches: the Joseph cycle speech in June 1972, and the Blair social exclusion speech in September 2006. The year 2006 also marked the 30th anniversary of the publication of Rutter and Madge’s literature review (Rutter and Madge, 1976). The question is what links them, and what changes and continuities there have been over that 34-year period. This conclusion summarises five areas in which this intellectual history of the cycle speech and Research Programme has added significantly to existing knowledge. As we have seen, interest in the cycle speech and Research Programme has derived...

  11. References
    (pp. 271-294)
  12. Index
    (pp. 295-304)