Tag Archives: welfare

CFP: Privatization and Social Responsibility (Feminist Legal Theory Project: Vulnerability)

Atlanta.  In February.  Short turn around time on proposals, but there is flexibility.

This one came via Osgood Grad student and excellent much missed person Stu Marvel, now visiting at Atlanta.  The topic is an important one and ripe for cross-border conversations.  The Conference is Feb 17-18, and the due date for proposals  is December 8, with some flexibility. I’m sure there is a paper to be written here on the attempt to “gender” Ontario’s most recent Social Assistance Review (likewise I am intrigued by the statistics around the digital divide in the US and note the increasing delivery of state services through this non state medium).  Finally, it does seem that the Attawapiskat “crisis” (in quotes because of the variety of different interpretations of what the crisis actually consists of, not because I doubt one exists) and the discussion around “solutions” could be located within the scope of this call.

Enough of me.  Go and draft your ticket to the land of coca cola (among many other things):

SUBMISSIONS PROCEDURE Email a paper proposal by by Thursday, December 8th to Emily Hlavaty, FLT Program Coordinator: emily.hlavaty@emory.edu Decisions will be made prior to the holidays and working paper drafts to be duplicated and distributed prior to the Workshop will be due January 30th.


Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, Georgia [PDF of the call here]

This workshop explores from a cross-cultural perspective how privatization impacts contemporary feminist and social justice approaches to public responsibility. Feminisms have long problematized divisions between the private and the political, partly in reaction to the unprecedented privatization of state responsibilities and public welfare over the past 30 years. Recent critical legal scholarship on vulnerability, state negligence, and resilience can complicate and deepen our understanding of the problems generated by privatization in the 21st century.
We invite papers that explore the effects of diverse forms of privatization from national and cross-national perspectives. Disciplinary and interdisciplinary papers exploring the effects of these privatizations on institutions, individuals, society, welfare, education, healthcare, capitalism, government, military and law are welcomed. State regulation, particularly in the form of socioeconomic welfare, is frequently criticized for policing individual choices and perpetuating social and legal forms of violence. We are particularly interested in how a feminist or progressive analysis of state institutional involvement might mitigate these negative effects and the impact of privatization.

This workshop is the most recent in a series examining the political and theoretical possibilities inherent in thinking about justice and state responsibility in terms of human “vulnerability.”  It builds upon earlier sessions expanding our understandings of vulnerability as a constant part of the human condition that is universal, even as it may be experienced in particular and uneven ways.

These discussions are grounded in the work of the Vulnerability and Human Condition Initiative, founded by Professor Martha Albertson Fineman, and aim to carve out academic space within which scholars can imagine models of state support and legal protection that focus on the commonalities of the human condition – most centrally the universal vulnerability of human beings and the imperfection of the societal institutions created to address that vulnerability.  For more information on the Vulnerability and Human Condition Initiative please visit: http://web.gs.emory.edu/vulnerability/about/index.html

Report: Women’s Experience of Income Management in the Northern Territory

This quite interesting  report interviews women from Australia’s Northern Territory about “Income Management” or ‘income quarantining’ since the NTER (Northern Territory Emergency Response). Here is a very short undated excerpt from an Australian government site explaining the quarantining (if you click the link you will find more claims about the rationale, etc):

Income management has been a critical aspect of the response, designed to establish a safe and healthy environment for children. By redirecting 50 per cent of a person’s payments to housing, utilities and food, the amount of excess cash flow, which can often fuel abusive behavior such as substance and alcohol abuse, is reduced.

Half of all income-support and family-assistance payments are income managed so that the money can be directed towards food, school nutrition, rent and other priority items. One hundred per cent of advance payments, lump sum payments, Baby Bonus installments and payments under the Government’s stimulus packages are income managed.

Funds that are income managed cannot be used to purchase excluded goods such as alcohol, tobacco, pornography or gambling products. These provisions affect all people (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) who live in prescribed areas of the Northern Territory and who receive welfare payments.

Hmm.  Protection for children, excess money leads to abuse – they are hitting some high points there. Income managed funds are funneled through a cash card called a BasicsCard that can only be used in certain stores – the Government says, stores which sell priority items, although the women in the study seem to agree that many places selling priority items (food, clothing) are excluded.

The report is a mix of qualitative and quantitative work, written by the Equality Rights Alliance, comprised of more than 50 women’s rights organizations.  It describes women’s actual experiences with quarantining, setting the stage for further research, and policy reform (although the report explicitly stays away from calling for specific reforms).  It is, let us say, not very positive about quarantining.  There are really interesting questions raised about who exactly is the beneficiary of these new rules and about the ability of bureaucracies to implement this kind of program in a way which secures the intended benefits without causing other harm.


When Sarah Keenan was here, she spoke about some aspects of the NTER, so this Report may be of interest to those who heard her speak.

The Report also shares a methodology with reports like my colleague Janet Mosher’s 2004 report, Walking on Eggshells:  Abused women’s experiences of Ontario’s Welfare System.

Gendering the Ontario Social Assistance Review

“Our call to ensure the Social Assistance Review takes a gendered equity approach is therefore a call to recognize, understand, and account for the complex realities of the lives of women so that our social assistance systems can more effectively support them in all the roles they perform. We urge the Commission to take a gendered equity perspective to its work in making recommendations on Ontario’s social assistance systems.”

The IFLS has been working with YWCA Toronto, the Income Security Advocacy Centre and a host of other Ontario organizations in a group effort to ensure that the current Social Assistance Review process pays attention to gender.   This week, we sent a letter to the Commissioners, making our case.  You can read the full text of the letter here and read more about the Workshop we hosted here.