Critical Social Policy

Bordering Practices in the UK Welfare System Bastian Vollmer, Simon Güntner, Sue Lukes & Jo Wilding


This article considers how chauvinistic welfare policies operate as a bordering practice. Taking the UK as an example, it examines a process in which welfare provisions have increasingly been withdrawn from a group of people designated as undeserving. It points out a close link between chauvinism based on ethnicity and that based on class. This relation is explored in detail for the case of social housing culminating in today’s ‘social housing for local people’ approach. A second case, access to social services for unaccompanied minors, is presented to illustrate bordering practices that operate in everyday services despite existing legal entitlements. The cases show that governments and service providers frequently act outside their legal remits to pursue this agenda, despite the UK’s anti-discrimination legislation.


Vollmer, B., Güntner, S., Lukes, S., & Wilding, J., (2016) Bordering Practices in the UK Welfare System, Critical Social Policy, DOI: 10.1177/0261018315622609