The Network of Surveillance: The Power of Official Inquiries into Poor Relief Provision in New South Wales, 1898 and 1984

  • Rosemary Berreen
  • Michael Wearing


Classification in terms of welfare provisions is understood in this chapter as the setting up of categories to impose control over the social and administrative realities of welfare,2 that is, those social taxonomies of moral behaviour, mental illness, age, or gender, of physical or developmental disability, income, crime, occupation, education and of other social and economic indicators, for the purpose of welfare provision. The term ‘classification’ has a long association with those traditions within anthropology concerned with the social causation and cultural production of categories (Durkheim and Mauss 1963: 82, Lévi-Strauss 1963: 135–36). In extending this analysis into the regulatory impacts of the contemporary welfare state, the classification of the claimants of welfare can be seen as of increased, yet relatively unexplored, significance to social policy analysis and welfare politics. The aim is to provide an analysis of the political position of research inquiries into welfare. In many instances such inquiries establish and reproduce the symbolic relations of domination within welfare provision, as systems of classification.


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Copyright information

© Richard Kennedy and contributors 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosemary Berreen
  • Michael Wearing

There are no affiliations available

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