PhD students

Emily Ball

University of Sheffield

Title: Investigating the use of conditionality mechanisms in family-based interventions

Watch Emily’s video about her research

Emily150Emily’s PhD research is investigating the balance between sanction and support of welfare conditionality in the context of anti-social behaviour. The research will draw on the Troubled Families Programme launched by the Coalition government after the 2011 riots. She is using a longitudinal qualitative methodology working with a range of families engaged with different service providers over six months to investigate how the circumstances of families may have changed and how that has been achieved. She is particularly interested in the use of parenting support to achieve this. The research will also consider the gender dimensions of these interventions. The results of the PhD will be useful for practitioners and policy makers in judging what level of conditionality is effective in increasing the opportunities and circumstances of vulnerable families.

Joanne Brown

University of Glasgow

Title: Welfare conditionality for disabled benefit recipients

Read Joanne’s blog about disabled people’s experiences of back-to-work support

150joBrownJoanne graduated from Northumbria University in 2012 with a BA Joint Honours degree in Disability Studies & Guidance and Counselling. Subsequently, she was awarded a studentship to study for an MRes in Social Sciences at the same institution. Her MRes project explored the impact of the recent welfare reform, particularly considering the changes to Employment Support Allowance for disabled welfare recipients.

Joanne is currently a PhD student at the University of Glasgow. Her thesis will gather qualitative data that illustrates the lived experiences of welfare conditionality for disabled benefit recipients. It will also consider the relationship between front-line welfare advisers and disabled welfare recipients.

Her main research interests are surrounding disability studies, welfare and employment barriers.

Liviu Dinu

University of Salford, Manchester

Title: Exploring the impact of welfare conditionality on Roma migrants in the UK

150LiviuLiviu studied Sociology at the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Faculty of Philosophy, Social and Political Sciences from Iasi. In 2013 he spent a year within the Roma Graduate Preparation Programme within the Central European University, Budapest, an intensive programme that prepares outstanding Roma graduates with an interest in social sciences and humanities to compete for places on Master’s-level courses at internationally recognised universities. This year he graduated with an MSc in Ethnicity and Multiculturalism at the University of Bristol. His MSc dissertation thesis explored the formation of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller educational values and the impact of the local context on the formation of their preferences on education.

Liviu is currently a PhD student at University of Salford, Manchester and member of the Sustainable Housing & Urban Studies Unit (SHUSU). His PhD research proposal aims to examine the social stigmatisation and racialisation of Roma migrants in relation to welfare conditionality arrangements and the impact of welfare conditionality on Roma migrants in the UK. During his professional career in the last 16 years he has worked on various social intervention and research projects which have involved the Roma ethnic minority from Romania.

Fiona Jackson

Heriot-Watt University

Title: The use of enforcement and other interventionist measures to combat rough sleeping (the role of Faith-Based and Secular Organisations in Scotland)

Watch Fiona’s video about her research

James Kaufman

University of Glasgow

Title: Behaviour change in action: understanding agency and contextualised interaction in benefit recipients’ encounters with street-level advisers

Watch James’ video about his research

150JimKaufmanJames  is a PhD candidate in the Urban Studies department at Glasgow University. He graduated with a BA in Philosophical Studies from Newcastle University in 2005, and subsequently spent two years teaching English in Mexico City. In 2008 he completed an MSc in Social Anthropology at the LSE, and until 2013 worked as an employment advisor and support worker in voluntary sector homeless and substance use services.

James’ research focuses on how behaviour change and conditionality measures attached to benefit claims are enacted and accomplished in practice. Using ethnographic methods to study the interactions between benefit recipients and street-level bureaucrats, it asks questions about how conditionality measures are brought into being, experienced, and interpreted in the context of daily life.

Larissa Povey

Sheffield Hallam University

Title: Punitive welfare, control and the criminalisation of female poverty

Watch Larissa’s video about her research

Larissa  is a PhD Candidate in the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR). Larissa gained an MA in International Studies and Politics at the University of Sheffield in 2014. Prior to this she worked in the employment related services sector for five years.

Larissa’s broad research interests lie in the areas of gender, social control, feminist political economy, welfare and criminal justice.

More specifically, her research aims to provide a more nuanced understanding of the combined effects of changes in welfare and criminal justice policies on the everyday lives of women at the social margins. In the neoliberal society gender-neutral citizens can expect workfare not welfare should they should fall on hard times, regardless of their status as a single parent or low paid worker. The ‘deserving poor’ have all but vanished from welfare discourse and policy, pushing vulnerable individuals and families towards socio-economic precarity. In contrast, within the criminal justice system a gender-differentiated approach is taken. At this intersection the line between punishment and welfare is blurred with financially and socially marginalised women, both those that are criminalised and those deemed ‘at risk’ of offending, offered therapeutic/welfare programs.

This research has the potential to increase understanding of the gendered dimensions of Wacquant’s ‘carceral-assistential net’ by focusing on women labelled as being ‘at risk’ or criminalised, uncovering sources of (mis)information that underpin broader policy regimes that shape their lives. It also seeks to address a gap in the literature which at best reproduces socially constructed identities of women, and at worst ignores the important gendered dimension of those caught between and controlled by these policy areas.

Regina Serpa

Heriot-Watt University

Title: Housing strategies of homeless migrants: a comparative study of Central Americans in Massachusetts and Eastern Europeans in Scotland

Watch Regina’s video about her research

Regina has over a decade of experience in housing research and practice in both the UK and the US. She combines her full-time PhD study at Heriot Watt University with teaching at the University of Stirling.

Her career started in the US – after receiving a Master of Urban Planning from the University of Illinois she became involved in affordable housing planning in Chicago and Boston, working with local non-profit Community Development Corporations. With a specific interest in social housing Regina received a Master of Science in Housing Studies from the University of Stirling and subsequently worked in homelessness service provision at a local authority. More recently she has experience as a researcher for the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations as well as Rettie and Co. She is skilled in both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Her research interests include homelessness, private sector housing quality, and social inequality. She is a Corporate Member of the Chartered Institute of Housing and an Associate Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute.

This research is a comparative study of migrant homelessness in the UK and the US that 1) explores the causal forces influencing migrant homelessness, 2) investigates the strategies used by homeless migrants to confront structural and individual barriers as a means to achieve housing and other needs, and 3) considers the role of the state in addressing migrant homelessness from a range of normative perspectives with particular attention placed on the importance of choice.

Fieldwork for this study was carried out in 2015 involving Life Story Interviews with Roma, Romanian and Polish participants in Edinburgh (Scotland) and nationals from Central American and Caribbean countries in the Boston metro region (Massachusetts).

Helen Stinson

University of York

Title: Coping with conditionality? An exploration of the impact of welfare conditionality

Read Helen’s blog on policy issues after her work with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation

The extension and intensification of welfare conditionality has become one of the defining features of New Labour and Coalition governments’ welfare reforms. Coupled with recent spending cuts which have reduced available statutory and non-statutory welfare support, such developments have particularly profound implications for vulnerable individuals who are most likely to be subject to the increased use of sanctions that are central to conditional welfare systems. Furthermore, vulnerable people may be reluctant, and in some cases ineligible, to access highly conditional support, and may pursue strategies outside more formal welfare systems in order to meet their basic needs. Against this backdrop the collaborative studentship will explore the experiences and coping strategies of vulnerable people who are excluded from, reluctant to access, or unable to engage with mainstream welfare systems as a result of ineligibility or welfare conditionality.

This PhD is a WRDTC/JRF collaborative studentship attached to the Welfare Conditionality project.

ESRCAn ESRC large grant
University of Glasgow Heriot Watt University University of Salford Manchester Sheffield Hallam University University of Sheffield University of York