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Transformation of Welfare

Transformation of Welfare


The current transformation of social welfare and growing inequalities in a slowly deteriorating care system lead us to seek a deeper understanding of how the future aspirations of community members are shaped and how these can be mediated through the practice of remembering. Bringing them together is the aim of WG2.

The system of social services structured in its modern way over the past two centuries
entered a new era with the “austerity” measures adopted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. They have resulted in both massive cuts to the provision of welfare and social care and profound restructuring of how the most vulnerable members of society are treated.

Of particular concern for this Working Group are the dispersion of care into complex relations between local agencies (e.g. community mental health care; interagency work in children’s services) and the ways in which this reconfiguration risks a relative erasure of memory and the capacity for lived experiences of care to be retained and commemorated.

Experience with institutions of the welfare state are ubiquitous, but the ways in which they are remembered must be resurfaced and newly understood. This theme seeks to inform current practices and attitudes towards social care via a reconnection to past experiences.

Engagement with and collaborations between users and care leavers (past, present and future) across the various areas to be studied will help inform a new approach that takes into account new economic realities whilst at the same time ensuring that best practice is not a forgotten element of this increasingly important and pressing issue. Service users will be central to the work of WG2, which will use slow memory concepts within a co-production
model to articulate the lived experience of welfare transitions.

A particular concern will be to overcome the division between academic knowledge and expertise through experience developing a dialogic practice through which knowledge
is developed and transmitted through service user networks and organisations can be mobilised and made central to debates around slow memory.

Stakeholders involved in this WG will include mental health providers, care institutions
and networks, and specialised memorial museums devoted to the history of welfare, child services, and poverty.

Meet the other Working Groups

WG1: Transformation of Work examines the decline of large-scale industry and the changing nature of the modern workplace, which has had significant effects on local communities and on individuals’ life perspectives. It seeks to develop slow memory concepts in relation to socio-economic analysis through exploring how remembrance practices can make visible economic transitions that are experienced unevenly and gradually. It brings methodological approaches to economic modelling and trends into dialogue with oral history techniques to develop new modes of narrating and visualising socio-economic change.
Though extremism may be on the rise on both ends of the political spectrum, the mobilisation of right-wing forces in a diverse set of countries poses a particular threat to democratic systems of governance and to inclusive political cultures. WG3 will analyse these threats through the lens of memory studies in three ways. First, right-wing and anti-democratic actors skilfully employ the politics of memory to persuade supporters and to drive societal actors into particular policy directions.
Societies gradually emerging from violent conflict face multiple challenges when it comes to dealing with the transgressions of the past and rebuilding the future. The overwhelmingly dominant approach in contemporary conflict resolution is to confront memories and narratives of conflict with a view to find consensus and promote reconciliation. This working group aims to develop ways of creating space for bringing together diverging circumstances, perspectives, experiences and practices into continued contestation and open-ended dialogues. We conceptualize the “slow transformation of conflict” as a form of peacebuilding, which is always a process, never an event.
WG5 will progress the conceptualization of slow environmental remembrance by drawing on the expertise and experience of stakeholder practitioners (e.g. environmental action groups, artists, curators, and museums). The resulting transdisciplinary dialogues between theory and practice will conceive of ways that environmental crisis can be remembered in radically expanded timeframes, laying the memorial foundations for future environmental policy work, and the theoretical foundations for analysing the forms, ethics, and politics of memory work that addresses the climate and ecological emergency.
How do global and local societies confront their past? How to they contend with current environmental, economic and social change? These are some of the main questions WG6 aims to tackle through collaborative exchanges and cooperation. We would like to create a shared understanding of slow memory as an approach and methodology more specifically utilized as a tool in comprehending to global and local grand-scale transformations and responding to their urgency and exigency .
WG7 is chaired by the Science Communication Manager and will ensure that the Action has a clear online profile and communication strategy. It will also have overall responsibility for updating and implementing the dissemination plan.
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