Constructing spaces of discourse and 'regroupment' : the case of women's self-reliant groups in Scotland

Hill O'Connor, Clementine and Mazzei, Micaela and Montgomery, Tom (2022) Constructing spaces of discourse and 'regroupment' : the case of women's self-reliant groups in Scotland. Journal of Social Policy. ISSN 0047-2794 (In Press) (

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Social security policy in liberal welfare systems have been increasingly shifting towards conditionality and models of 'welfare-to-work' (Dwyer and Wright 2014, Raffass 2017, Brady 2018). This has been enabled by policy discourses that construct poverty and unemployment as the result of 'personal failure and poor social behaviour, facilitated by expensive benefits payments that make few demands of recipients' (Wiggan 2012: 384). Unravelling the policy discourse makes it possible to understand what is framed as the problem that requires intervention (Bacchi 2000, Pantazis 2016) and the political and cultural values in which the solutions are embedded (Prior, et al. 2012). Arguably, there is a trend within this area of study to overemphasise 'the constraints imposed by discourse' (Bacchi 2000: 55), which uncritically embraces a Habermasian conceptualisation of 'the public' that too easily dismisses the emergence of other public spheres as arenas for counter-discourses to develop (Fraser, 1990). Self Reliant Groups (SRGs) represent an example of such alternative enactments.


Hill O'Connor, Clementine ORCID logoORCID:, Mazzei, Micaela and Montgomery, Tom;