Mutual obligation? Regulating by supervision and surveillance in Australian income support policy

Article English OPEN
Parker, Stephen ; Fopp, Rodney (2005)
  • Publisher: Surveillance Studies Network
  • Subject: H1 | HV

Through an analysis of speeches by government ministers, documents and regulations, this article\ud examines the Australian national government’s surveillance of unemployed people through what\ud is known as Activity Testing, and more specifically as Mutual Obligation. It seeks to merge\ud the social policy analysis of Mutual Obligation with a surveillance perspective in order to delve\ud deeper into the underlying nature of the policy and its implications for people who are\ud unemployed. It does this by 1. Outlining the neo-liberal political theory underlying these policies;\ud 2. Illustrating the nature and extent of surveillance of people in receipt of income support, and 3.\ud Employing Foucault’s concepts of the technologies of domination and the self to highlight the\ud controlling and coercive aspects of Mutual Obligation in achieving certain of the Government’s\ud political and policy objectives. In doing so, the analysis will make visible something of the power\ud exerted over the disadvantaged while subject to such surveillance.
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