A Double Helix: The Intertwined History of the Marginalisation of Welfare Clients and Their Activist Lawyers and Advisers in the Transformation of the Welfare State in England and Wales

Pete Sanderson, Hilary Sommerlad

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter draws on four qualitative studies conducted in England from the mid-1990s to 2015, to trace the intertwined stories of the emergence, flourishing and decline of activist welfare professionals committed to democratising access to justice and the expansion of and subsequent restriction in legal subjectivity. It situates these professionals’ role conception and practices in post-war UK social citizenship and shows how the neo-liberal project to construct an exclusionary form of citizenship entailed restrictions in access to the law. The data is used to highlight the relationship between the resulting impoverishment and disenfranchisement of welfare clients and the de-professionalisation of their lawyers and legal advisers and explores the mechanisms by which these twin goals were achieved.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransformations of European Welfare States and Social Rights
Subtitle of host publicationRegulation, Professionals, and Citizens
EditorsStine Piilgaard Porner Nielsen, Ole Hammerslev
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan, Cham
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9783031466373
ISBN (Print)9783031466366, 9783031466397
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2023

Publication series

NamePalgrave Socio-Legal Studies
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Cham
VolumePart F2018
ISSN (Print)2947-9274
ISSN (Electronic)2947-9282

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