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Out Now – The Reformation of Welfare

    The Reformation of Welfare

    We are very excited to announce that the long awaited book – the reformation of welfare is out today (June 15). Buy it from Bristol University Press here at a temporary 20% discount!


    Western culture has ‘faith’ in the labour market as a test of the worth of each individual. For those who are out of work, welfare is now less of a support than a means of purification and redemption. Continuously reformed by the left and right in politics, the contemporary welfare state attempts to transform the unemployed into active jobseekers, punishing non-compliance.

    Drawing on ideas from economic theology, this provocative book uncovers deep-rooted religious concepts and shows how they continue to influence contemporary views of work and unemployment: Jobcentres resemble purgatory where the unemployed attempt to redeem themselves, jobseeking is a form of pilgrimage in hope of salvation, and the economy appears as providence, whereby trials and tribulations test each individual. This book will be essential reading for those interested in the sociology and anthropology of modern economic life.

    Open Access

    Chapters 1 and 3 of the book are available through open access, find them here.

    Learn More

    During the 2021 Economy & Society Digital Summer School the authors (Ray Griffin & Tom Boland) hosted a fascinating seminar on their book. You can read more about it or watch the video of the event here through the event’s archive.

    We would like to express our gratitude to the European Union for funding our project and making it possible for us to share the first three chapters of our book with you through open access.