Everyday Welfare in Modern British History: experiences, expertise and activism


Beaumont, C., Colpus, E. and Davidson, R. (ed.) (2024). Everyday Welfare in Modern British History: experiences, expertise and activism. Baskingstoke UK Palgrave Macmillan.
EditorsBeaumont, C., Colpus, E. and Davidson, R.

Everyday Welfare in Modern British History: experience, expertise and activism addresses forms of action and activism used by individuals and groups who undertake the work of experiential expertise in relation to welfare cultures. We conceive of “experiential experts” as individuals whose action and activism has been catalysed by their personal experiences and knowledge. These individuals have asserted an expert witness status in welfare practice and sought out new forums to expand the scope, inclusivity, and applicability of welfare services.
Our book takes Robert Pinker’s idea of “a state of welfare” as the springboard to re-conceptualise the history of everyday welfare in twentieth century Britain. Shifting attention from the welfare state to “a state of welfare” has important impact, allowing us to de-centre the privileging in histories of welfare of the welfare state, and instead to focus on the subjective and experiential dimensions of welfare. In doing so, we also engage anew with what Pinker argued was the need to consider welfare through the lens of people “faring well”. The chapters in the book offer routes into examining varied ways people identified with how to live a life where they “far[ed] well”, contested models of “faring well” that were applied to them through formal welfare provision, and protested perceived injustices around what it meant to “fare well”. Everyday Welfare offers a new framing for histories of welfare. It opens a more inclusive, diverse, and representative account of what the experience of welfare meant to people, how they felt about it and what they did with it, reconceptualising the centrality of welfare in daily life, and the embeddedness of activism within welfare cultures.

KeywordsHistory of experience; Experiential expertise; Faring well; Welfare state; States of welfare; Welfare activism; Histories of Welfare
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
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Publication dates
Publication process dates
AcceptedJun 2024
Deposited26 Jun 2024
Place of publicationBaskingstoke UK
SeriesPalgrave Studies in the History of Experience
Additional information

This edited collection is currently in press.

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