Gamers or Victims of the System? Welfare Reform, Cynical Manipulation and Vulnerability

Del Roy Fletcher, John Flint, Elaine Batty, Jennifer Margaret McNeill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


New mechanisms of conditionality enacted through current reforms of the UK welfare system are framed within contested narratives about the characteristics, rationalities and conduct of welfare users. In the problem figuration of welfare reform the orientations and conduct of welfare recipients have been conceptualised and depicted across a spectrum ranging from cynical manipulators gaming the system and subverting the original ethos of the welfare state to vulnerable individuals experiencing compounded disadvantage. This paper aims to strengthen the conceptualisation of cynical manipulation and vulnerability and to empirically investigate how narratives of these ideas are deployed by key stakeholders in the welfare system and the extent to which manipulation or vulnerability are present in the orientations and conduct of individuals in receipt of welfare support.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberJPSJ-D-15-00031R1
Pages (from-to)171-185
Number of pages15
JournalThe Journal of Poverty and Social Justice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016

Bibliographical note

Embaargo period: 12 months

Cite this