Moving from the individual to the relational: child protection re-imagined

Jo has been qualified as a social worker for two years. She works from a new office in the centre of town, based above the ‘one stop shop’ access point for local authority services.  The council’s policy of hot desking means there is little clutter on desks.  It is perfect white space, corporately pristine. There are few personalised areas and Jo may be sitting with different people each day. Most days she visits families in their homes driving to the estate where  many of those on her caseload live.  Jo visits the estate in her car.  She has never walked around it, shopped there or stopped for a coffee, sandwich or a drink. Indeed, there are few places to buy food and drink.   Continue reading Moving from the individual to the relational: child protection re-imagined

Circles of Support – resilience in our communities

Have you ever heard the term ‘we live in a global village’? Or talked about how different life is now that we can skype, facebook, email people around the world – building friendships with as little effort as it used to take to nip next door and have a cup of tea with your neighbour? Geography just doesn’t pose the same obstruction to relationships as it used to and yet when you think about the richness of relationships – the support that they provide – the importance of strong networks, you realise that geography alone isn’t the only barrier to creating them and that lots of people who could and should benefit from better connectivity still don’t. Continue reading Circles of Support – resilience in our communities

Listening? Or ‘discernment at a distance’?

A report published by DCLG last year called ‘Listening to Troubled Families’ caused a small amount of controversy. The report, based on interviews conducted by Louise Casey, was accused of not following ethical guidelines in research. The DCLG claimed it was not ‘formal research’ and Casey herself has claimed that she never ‘pretended that (it) was research with a capital ‘R’’ but the criticisms are, I would argue, still valid. Nick Bailey of the University of Glasgow has highlighted failures in regard to the free and informed consent of the participants, issues around confidentiality and non-disclosure and concerns around sound and appropriate methods and interpretation of findings.

Despite these criticisms of her approach on this occasion, Casey has consistently argued that it is vital to listen to the ‘Troubled Families’ in order to better understand them and help to ‘turn their lives round’. She talks, in the foreword to the report of wanting ‘to get to know these families’ and elsewhere of wanting to ‘connect with the actual families and get under the skin of what’s happened to them in their lives’. In a recent appearance before the DCLG Select Committee, Casey said

I do not believe that the policy for which you are accountable to Ministers should be divorced from the human beings on the receiving end of it … It is incredibly important, in roles like mine, to remember what all of this is for. There is nothing like meeting those families and realising just how difficult their lives have been and the backgrounds many of them have come from … Throughout the jobs I have had the privilege to hold, it has been important for me to remember, with some degree of humility, what this is all about.(my emphasis)

In terms of the work taking place on the ground, Casey also noted that

You are not in a fighting relationship with the families. When families talk about this work they refer to, say, Jayne, being the first person who has ever listened to what they wanted; nobody has ever helped them before. (my emphasis)

The report makes for very depressing reading and Casey notes that the families ‘had entrenched, long-term cycles of suffering problems and causing problems’ with a particular emphasis on violence and abuse:

The most striking common theme that families described was the history of sexual and physical abuse, often going back generations; the involvement of the care system in the lives of both parents and their children, parents having children very young, those parents being involved in violent relationships, and the children going on to have behavioural problems, leading to exclusion from school, anti-social behaviour and crime. (p1)

Whenever I read the report, I am reminded of writing by Steph Lawler to describe another set of wider interviews into ‘suffering’. She argued that the researchers had sought out the very worst of circumstances, conveying ‘little but hopelessness’, arguing that ‘misery was what they went looking for, and misery is what they found’ (2005, p434)

However, the concern with ‘listening’ to these families and some wider elements of the Troubled Families Programme such as a single dedicated worker for each family and an emphasis of ‘transforming lives’, look, at first sight, very similar to the relational welfare approach advocated by Participle. Note the similarities with the text below from a document by Hilary Cottam:

The constant visits and delivery of messages do not constitute a conversation, and the families do not feel properly listened to or understood. Asked to change, the families have no lived experience of what this might feel like; and, worse still, they know that these commands are accompanied by the dead weight of expectation that they can’t change – ‘this family will never change’, it was explained to us.

But, on slightly closer inspection, some slippages between the two approaches begin to appear. On the next page of the relational welfare document, Cottam writes

Ella and another mother were asked to be part of a panel who interviewed and selected a team, from existing front-line workers in Swindon, who could work with one hundred families in similar circumstances. These mothers had no time for those they thought would be ‘soft’ with them, and even less for those they saw as somehow dehumanised representatives of the system. They chose professionals who confessed that they did not necessarily have the answers, but who convinced them they would stick with it …

These new teams have been allotted only a sliver of the former budget. What they can do is spend this money in any way the families decide – on their very first family outings in some cases, in others as a float to start very successful social enterprises. All initiatives are chosen and driven by the families themselves, which is key to transformation.

This approach contrasts sharply with the centralised approach adopted by the Troubled Families Programme. For all the talk of localism, it is a programme where the outcomes, decided in Westminster, are prescriptive, narrow and focused on short term behaviour change. Funding to support the work stays with central government until they are satisfied that, according to their criteria, ‘transformation’ has taken place. On top of this, Casey herself has, on occasion, used very different language to describe the approach adopted by the TFP:

What we know works is this thing called family intervention and what it does is basically get into the actual family, in their front room and if actually the kids aren’t in school it gets in there and says to the parents I’m gonna show you and explain to you exactly how to get your kids up and out every single day and then I’m gonna make you do it.  And if you don’t do it, there are gonna be consequences.

They walk into these families’ lives; they do not invite them to an office for an appointment with a letter. They walk through the front door and into the front room past two extraordinarily difficult and dangerous-looking dogs that they hope are locked in the kitchen. They have to sit on a settee, often in a pretty rough environment with some very aggressive people, and, with kids not in school and people all over the criminal justice system and so on, they have to get them from there to there.

On occasions she has publicly suggested that, even after listening to the families, she has decided that she didn’t necessarily believe what they were saying:

Some families think that their problems are often because of just one child when that is clearly not the case and that child is neither the only problem nor the starting point of where the problems in the family began. (DCLG 2012)

So, all this stuff about “I can’t control him” and those sorts of things just isn’t true. (my emphases)

It would appear, then, that there are two very different models of ‘listening’ to ‘troubled families’ or ‘families with multiple disadvantages’ and that those models have implications for how these families are talked about, represented and, ultimately, treated as human beings. Dan Silver of the Social Action Research Foundation has argued that co-production of policies and services is vital if we are to truly tackle poverty and disadvantage, suggesting that ‘we need to transform the very nature of public policy by locating technocratic and citizen knowledge on a more equal footing’. He goes on to say:

This requires a shift in the model of governance and public policy that currently exists, which privileges statistical data and economic performance management, towards a model that draws more upon the experiences of people living in poverty. 

Mark Peel, in a chapter called ‘Hope’ in The Lowest Rung (a book that shares the voices of people living in poverty in Australia) sums up the difference between these two approaches brilliantly:

The point is to listen to what they are saying. It won’t be easy, because it depends on getting close enough to hear words that aren’t about pain, suffering and heroic endurance but about hope and anger. It demands an approach based on working with people, not on them. It is the difference between what activist Pam MacShane called ‘the model of discernment at a distance’ and ‘empowering them, trusting them’. It is the difference between telling them what to do and asking them what needs to be done, in the belief that they know best. (my emphasis) (2003, p170).

References

DCLG (2012) Listening to Troubled Families, London: DCLG

Lawler, S. (2005) Disgusted subject: the making of middle-class identities, The Sociological Review 430-446

Peel, M. (2003) The lowest rung, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

 

Stephen Crossley

Stephen Crossley is  PhD student in the School of Applied Social Sciences at Durham University. He is looking at the ‘recontextualisation’ and ‘operationalization’ of the Troubled Families Programme.

Blog – www.akindoftrouble.wordpress.com

Twitter – @kindoftrouble

Putting people at the heart of positive change in local neighbourhoods

Hi, we are make:good; an Architecture and design studio that puts people at the heart of positive change in their neighbourhood. At make:good we aren’t solely interested in designing buildings but instead are fascinated by tapping into the emotional relationships people have with the spaces between buildings – public space. Very often this means that we are looking at a combination of co-designing built changes, or helping rework the services that run in a space and how people might use them. Being outside is brilliant for many reasons but not least because it gives us an opportunity to meet other people, to people-watch, to feel connected to others and have a relationship with our neighbourhood.  A big theme for us is working in areas with really poor quality public spaces and breaking down barriers that people feel around suggesting activities and reasons to be outside. There is a certainly a big disparity between places with plenty of resources and a motivated community and those areas where people don’t have strong relationships with their local authority and where making things happen seems a struggle. Those are the places in which we are most interested in working, so that good things can happen. We recently completed a project about sustainable journeying with four schools in Southampton which all sit within 500m of each other.  All the surrounding roads were struggling with high volumes of car use, school drop off and pick up time was turning into a daily nightmare for all concerned.  It was stressful for all parties and everybody wanted it to improve but nobody knew where to start talking about it. Right from the beginning we knew we needed to get people together but car use was a terrible conversation starter so the suggestion of a very savvy seven year old led us to convince the council to close the road for a day and have a big street party.  It was just the opportunity that people needed to come together, to be outside, to talk and to have a lot of fun.  Each school and local residents were given the opportunity to provide activities for the party so it built on local skills and knowledge. ‘One of the nicest things about the street party was that it was the first time that all the different schools were together in one place, parents, children, teachers and Council Officers and having fun. Marc – Sholing Junior School These relationships are now firmly cemented through a common experience.  The massive confidence boost of seeing an idea turn into reality has provided an opportunity for other collective projects to happen.  Seeing that making big change is much easier together rather than alone was clearly a big eye opener and provided an incentive to keep working on relationships, even if they get tricky. 2008-03-27 13.45.18 That particular community in Southampton now has a stronger sense of permission to utilise it’s public spaces for local enjoyment. Experiencing a shared sense of connection to the places they inhabit and those they neighbour was just the starting point but none the less a project legacy worth celebrating. For us building relationships between people and the spaces they spend time in is crucial for neighbourhoods to feel loved and to feel like a place people want to be.  There’s something to be said for the fun interactions we have with anyone who happens to bump into us along the way.  We value the simple conversations we have had standing on a freezing Winter’s day on a high road by our chestnut cart or popcorn machineCraig & popcornSometimes for passers by, a small-smile raising chat can mean so much and unknowingly lead to a person’s greater sense of participation and contribution to their local public space. Swapping stories for popcorn in a disused shop in Barking proved that being a pop-up presence for people to engage with is often the first and most crucial step in breaking down barriers between people and the spaces they live, work or play in. Once you’ve built those relationships between neighbours, councils, local businesses and the rest of a complex and unique web in a community you can really begin to unlock the potential in making real change happen to services and spaces we consider public.  In essence we aim that our projects facilitate people growing in confidence and motivation to get outside and start using public spaces in a truly public way as we relish this form of relational welfare.

Catherine Greig, Founder & Director make:good

Fostering social relationships in older age

Loneliness – that unwelcome feeling we have when there is a gap between the number and types of relationships we want, and those we have – is not an inevitable consequence of ageing. However, we must recognise that we do become more ‘socially’ vulnerable as we age as key risk factors for loneliness (such as bereavement, poor health and sight loss) are more likely to combine as we grow older.

In the United Kingdom, approximately 10% of people aged over 65 reports feeling lonely ‘all or most of the time’. Up to a further 30% of older people say they feel lonely ‘sometimes’. As our population ages, the absolute numbers of people experiencing this negative emotion will only increase.

We have long been aware, from research and overwhelming anecdotal evidence, of the link between loneliness and poor quality of life in older age. But loneliness and social isolation are also harmful to our health: research shows that lacking social connections is as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Loneliness is also linked with a range of chronic conditions, including depression and dementia.

Both state and society have a responsibility to tackle loneliness

Loneliness is an individual and complex emotion: it is not static, and we may move in and out of loneliness. For example, we often hear that Sundays or Bank Holidays are particularly hard. There is clearly no one ‘magic bullet’ solution; all sectors, organisations and individuals need to play a role if we are to prevent and alleviate loneliness in our older population.

This has been a core message of the Campaign to End Loneliness since our launch in February 2011. We have also been working to shift the public and policy debate away from loneliness as a ‘tea and sympathy’ issue – instead seeking recognition that loneliness has potentially devastating consequences for health and care services, as well as the health and wellbeing of older people.

With limited resources, the Campaign decided to focus on supporting and encouraging newly formed health and wellbeing boards to understand the consequences of loneliness to society, services and individuals. We asked them to identify and measure it within their communities, and then develop a strategy to address it.

A health and wellbeing board is a forum for the most senior health and care officials in a locality. It is responsible for developing a strategic plan (called a Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy) that prioritises local health or wellbeing problems for health and care commissioners. All boards are also required to consult their local population as they attempt to identify the most pressing issues in their area. (More information about boards and the JHWS can be found on our website here)

If a board is willing to prioritise loneliness in a JHWS, it ultimately is accepting its responsibility to the individual (and perhaps also to the tax payer) to create an environment in which social relationships, and social wellbeing, can be made and maintained. We recently found that 61 out of a 128 published Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies (JHWSs) had at least recognised that loneliness or isolation was a problem for their community. 33 out of this 61 had got a step further, and set out targets or actions to address the issues.

“A relationship approach…can build public services that foster good relationships”

The issues of loneliness and isolation provide an opportunity for partnership work within, and between, organisations and sectors. Over the past 2 and half years that we have been working with boards, we had witnessed a growing number of examples of good practice across England, and building relationships has proved central to successful initiatives.

Case Study: Sutton South Hello

In late 2012 local councillors, Sutton South Neighbourhood Police Team, Sutton Seniors Forum, Sutton Housing Partnership, churches, residents’ associations and Age UK Sutton launched a joint project to support lonely and isolated older people in the South Sutton ward. The group found the Sutton South ward had an older population at risk of loneliness, after studying census data and local indicators of risk.

The project began with a quarterly newsletter containing information about activities in the ward, distributed to over 1,000 households. This newsletter has already raised attendance at existing social opportunities. The ‘Second Saturday social club for older people’ has reported an increase from below 10 to over 50 attendees since the newsletter was issued. The project also report a 106% increase in callers from Sutton South to Age UK’s Information and Advice Service. They are now working to recruit volunteer befrienders and to increase the range of partners involved.

Partnerships formed across local authority functions (including adult social care, public health and housing) and between the public and voluntary sector can achieve the greatest overall change for lonely people. Firstly, the local authority is helping create the right conditions for the local organisations working directly to tackle the issue. And secondly, individuals will benefit from more joined-up services and support.

What next?

Individuals and organisations concerned about loneliness in their communities need to continue to raise this with their health and wellbeing board. Any commitment to the issue from senior health and care officials can lead to real changes in services, which has a knock-on effect on communities – building an environment that can foster more resilient, happier and healthier citizens.

Around 60% of health and wellbeing boards have not yet acknowledged the health risks of loneliness. The Campaign will continue to work with local people to lobby these boards, and support those who have acknowledged the issue but still have a long way to go before targets are defined and achieved.

We’ll also be doing more to support organisations that are working with older people to build effective and efficient services. This will include further resources, publications and events – and we’ll be looking at ‘who’ and ‘when’ people are lonely.

You can contact Anna (anna@campaigntoendloneliness.org.uk) if you’d be interested in learning more or sign-up here: www.campaigntoendloneliness.org.uk/support-us/

Anna Goodman, Policy and Research Officer, Campaign to End Loneliness

What Happens to Human Relationships in a Neoliberal Society

By Michael Rustin, Professor of Sociology at University of East London

The second instalment of the Kilburn Manifesto, Vocabularies of the Economy[1] discussed the permeation of everyday language by discourses of  consumption, of buying and selling, as the dominant way of conceiving modes of being and relationship in a society now dominated by the ideology and manufactured ‘common sense’ of neoliberalism.

As Doreen Massey, the writer of that instalment put it:

On trains and buses, and sometimes in hospitals and universities too, we have become customers, not passengers, readers, patients or students. In all these cases a specific activity and relationship is erased by a general relationship of buying and selling which is given precedence over it. 

She argued that the inculcation and normalisation of this way of thinking and naming was powerful in its effects. It defines a world in which only market relations are assigned value, and in which alternative kinds of relationship are eclipsed.  This is the case even  if  the  so-called ‘markets’ which are legitimised by this way of thinking are to a significant degree rigged, and whose large players gain  special  advantage from the privileges accorded to corporate power by governments  which operate largely under their sway. Think of the private partners in Private Finance Initiatives, or the holders of quasi-monopoly franchises such as the railway or water companies.

In this instalment, I argue that the picture of pleasure-maximising, self-interested individuals, whose lives are organised through rational market exchange,  falsifies much of what happens and needs to happen in human lives, even in a market society. I contrast relationships of natural dependency and interdependency, whose participants are concerned not only for their own well-being, but also for the well-being of others, with the pervasive endorsement of motivations of self- interest.

Drawing on ideas that were very influential during the periods of expansion of welfare systems, I point out  in the third instalment A Relational Society[2]   all those phases of the normal life cycle in which human beings are not and cannot be self-sufficient.  Infancy (both for babies and their parents), childhood, periods of sickness, and old age, are the most obvious of these phases of natural dependency. It is around such phases of vulnerability  that the welfare state and its services were organised, with free education, health care, and support in old age among its principal spheres of social action.

Even William Beveridge (no socialist he) recognised in 1944, remembering the large-scale  unemployment of the pre-war years,   that  in adult working lives such situations of dependency upon the support of others would be often likely to arise, and a system of social insurance was devised to share the risk and burdens of this. Peter Townsend later showed[3] that ‘poverty’ was a condition in which many people found themselves at certain stages of their lives, not a condition which merely afflicted an unfortunate minority.  He linked this circumstance to family responsibilities, for example for the care of children, or the ill, of the very old, which took people out of the sphere of paid work, for a time at least, but also to economic cycles and fluctuations and their consequences for employment.

But my argument is that relationships of dependency and of care are not located only in specially vulnerable moments of the life-cycle, but are the preconditions of nearly everything of human value.   It is contractual relations, based upon exchanges of pure mutual self-interest, that are the exception, not those of dependency and interdependency.

This is especially evident at moments of transition.  Think of a young person entering their first job – or any job come to that.  How can they ‘find themselves’ and be enabled to function with satisfaction to themselves and others,  if no-one gives them any attention, or  makes it known to them that they are valued?

Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, gave an enlightened account of his responsibilities in an interview reported today when he described the recovery of one of his players, Aaron Ramsey, from a serious double fracture of the leg when he was only 19, which had threatened to destroy his career.

 He said he always took a long term view with the player. “I decided to be patient with him. When you have been injured for such a long time, it takes a long time to get back to your best. You never know if he will come completely back. But when you are injured before 20 you come back to your normal level and improve like you have not been injured.”   

So here is someone who looked after this no-doubt traumatised and frightened young footballer, as anyone in a position like his should do.  and in this case seems to have enabled him to make a full recovery.

So ubiquitous is this need to be recognised and given consideration, that  those who organise market exchanges –  those responsible for sales and customer relations –  often try to convey to the customer that he or she is indeed of value. For this reason many of the experiences one has as a customer can be quite agreeable.  I think this is essentially because giving and receiving such human attention are intrinsically satisfying (even if there is an ulterior purpose) so the instrumental purpose of the exchange is given another dimension – even sometimes subverted – by those engaged in the actual work. Thus an element of gift exchange enters the commercial transaction. I think Doreen was describing such an aspect in Vocabularies of the Economy when she said that both she and the gallery assistant she met had enjoyed their conversation, even though its manifest instrumental purpose was rather disilllusioningly conveyed to Doreen by the ‘Customer Liaison’  designation  on the staff member’s tee shirt.

The Problem We Have

The problem we have is this.  The idea that people are motivated in their relations to each other and to their different activities and objects by being valued for what they are,  for their distinctive and particular properties, is being ruthlessly attacked.  What this attack is doing to is to drain the idea of intrinsic value from many fields of  social interaction.  If there is an ideological belief that no-one can be trusted to do anything simply because they  believe in it, or care about  or are committed to it, then it follows that they must be constrained to do things from other motives.

What are these other motives? One of them is  hope of gain,  formulated in terms of money (more pay) or status (a high position in some league table), or power.   The other is fear, instilled through the setting-out of rules and regulations which individuals are compelled to follow, at pain of punishment and shame.

Those who work in educational or NHS organisations will be aware of the strong pressure to displace intrinsic motivations and values, with  such extrinsic and instrumental ones.   No-one can be trusted to do anything, so everything has to be regulated, accounted for, inspected and audited, and maybe (at the higher levels of authority) rewarded in money.  What does the vast increase in the rewards of high level managers in both public and private sectors signify, other than that they can no longer be trusted to do what they do from a sense of responsibility and love of their calling? Incidentally I think this situation, and the coupling of high salaries and perks with huge pension pots and severance payments, also signifies that no-one expects long-term commitments or loyalty from such people,  so it is arranged that even a short  tenure in a post will be amply rewarded. This is very different from the slow annual   progress up incremental and promotional ladders that some of us were used to, and which of course in their own way did reward loyalty.

This disregard of intrinsic values  can be perverse in its effects.  Because people are compelled and incentivised to look out for themselves, they are encouraged to neglect their primary ‘objects’  of attention and care.  Not the students, nor the academic subject, become the main passion of the university lecturer, but the CV, the survived inspection, the  recognised research output without which a career can come to a dead halt,  or worse.

Because institutions  cease to believe that anyone cares for anything except themselves, they becomes extremely distrustful and paranoid.  Rules are written and imposed to counter ‘risks’ that in reality scarcely exist. [4] Concerns with how an activity appears, and is accounted for, becomes obsessional, in the absence of any normal trust that people will do their jobs properly without such draconian surveillance.  Of course the primary values of the work, whatever it is, suffer greatly in such an atmosphere of paranoid anxiety and distrust.

It is notable that when tragedies occur, such as in child care or hospitals, the routine response is (a) to find someone to blame and (b) to devise additional forms of regulation and documentary accountability (tick-boxes, paper trails, etc.)  Not that is, to find out what happened in that institution, network or culture, which caused the normal commitments of nurses to their patients, or care workers to their at risk children, to break down so catastrophically (and often, exceptionally).  A single failure can be used to legitimise a much more general distrust.

I am not in fact against either market exchange, or regulation and inspection, as means of  ensuring that goods and services are provided to people’s satisfaction and according to necessary standards.   But these need to be seen mainly as framing devices, as containers  within which commitments to intrinsic values in whatever sphere of activity we are thinking of, can be trusted to give rise to value  –  such as learning by pupils, the care of vulnerable children or patients, and even the generation of new knowledge.

Think, as an example, of how a play is produced or a film is made. There are regulations –  minimum wages, contracts, lunch breaks, health and safety rules, etc. – which must be observed.   There is always a  financial requirement –  an audience must be attracted, or grants must be won in competition. But neither the rules nor the revenue-stream themselves  can make the play or the film. For that, there need to be writers, designers, actors, cameraman, electricians,  box office staff,  who care about what they do, and the intrinsic  value that it has, within the larger assemblage of the theatre company or film crew.   This seems to me to be a paradigm for the production of value.

The Politics of Value

It is not easy to say how one can make these quite obvious  reflections, into an effective alternative politics.   Markets and regulations are not enough, especially of course when the former are grossly rigged in favour of the powerful and the rich,[5] and the latter are enforced in such mindless and insensitive ways. A good society respects many different values, and seeks structures and systems which nurture and support instead of undermining them.

Can we identity those kinds of discontent and suffering [6] which these regimes of market and regulation themselves give rise  to, and show how destructive, even self-destructive they are?  We can see for example how the pursuit of short term profits, at the expense of the long- term needs, capacities and commitments of enterprises and their members, are actually wrecking the British economy, and turning much of its private sector in the parasitic clients of the State.

One of our problems is that values are particular, and different from one another.  Neoliberalism, by contrast,  homogenises everything. The idea of ‘economic growth’ and a ‘lower deficit’, are unitary ideas, whereas a good society has many different fields of value  which should be  sustained within it.   The domination of social discourse by the disciplines of economics and accountancy are an academic facet of this problem, since these perspectives  (unlike, for example, anthropology or historical study)  eclipse non-economic kinds of value in their conceptions of the world.

In a development of this case for the primacy of human relations, I argue that we also need to think of Nature and the material world as bearing value of its own, and not as a mere subject for exploitation by humankind. [7]

I think these arguments are of value as a diagnosis and critique of where we are. Diagnosis and critique are important, in that we need a systematic description of our present social order, and an understanding of the harms it causes, to develop and promote challenges to it.   Activities and institutions which embody relational and value-rich ways of doing things are vital too. Alternatives to the present system probably need to be found, created, and lived in experience, they can cohere into a  larger political programme.  Such initiatives can be thought of as a ‘prefigurative’  politics.

But what we do not yet have are the evidence of sufficient contradictions, conflicts and new agencies arising from this social condition,  which can turn back the neoliberalism tide, and  set a new direction for society.


[3] In Poverty in the United Kingdom (1979)

[4] Some of this pervasive anxiety is projected on to the threat of terrorism. A brilliant article by Henry Porter, on the gun culture of the United States, (The Observer, September 22) pointed out that since the events of Nine Eleven, 324,000 have been killed by firearms, compared with 20 by terrorist attack.

[5] Colin Crouch  (2011)  The Strange Non-Death of Neoliberalism  describes  the overwhelming of markets by corporate power.

[6] I have suggested a  psychoanalytic dimension to this argument from an ‘object relations’ perspective, in a paper, ‘Belonging to Oneself  Alone- the Spirit of Neoliberalism’, given at a New Imago Forum seminar in Oxford on September 7 2013.  This is available by request to m.j.rustin@uel.ac.uk.

[7]  Relations with the Material World is the second part of the printed version of this Manifesto instalment, and is in Soundings 54, pp 31 – 36.  This is also availably on-line to Soundings subscribers.