Identity and the Welfare State: evolving challenges for sustaining social solidarity

Hosted by LSE Festival: Beveridge 2.0

Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building


Professor Xenia Chryssochoou

Professor Xenia Chryssochoou

Professor Peter Dwyer

Professor Peter Dwyer

David Goodhart

David Goodhart

Celestin Okoroji

Celestin Okoroji


Dr Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington

Dr Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington

Central to the promise of the Beveridge Report is the assumption of social solidarity: we need a cohesive society to support social protection, and the resulting shared safety net should increase cohesion even further. Yet as the country and its welfare state evolved, so did the social bonds on which they depended. Given what we know about human behaviour and experience, what prospect is there for the level of solidarity needed to carry Beveridge’s vision into the twenty-first century?

Bringing together policy and social psychology, this event will consider two challenges to welfare state solidarity.  First, social policy expert Peter Dwyer and social psychologist Celestin Okoroji will present evidence from very different projects looking at the experiences of those receiving benefits in the context of greater demands for compliant behaviours and worsening stereotypes of the ‘welfare recipient’. Second, policy writer David Goodhart and social psychologist Xenia Chryssochoou will offer contrasting perspectives on whether greater diversity in the national population poses a challenge for the sense of collective solidarity needed to sustain the welfare state.

This event will feature diverse research insights on thorny issues and will offer a chance for the audience to share their views on the debates at hand.

Xenia Chryssochoou is Professor of Social and Political Psychology at Panteion University. Her research focuses on social psychological dimensions of identity in liberal societies, and in issues of multiculturalism and integration.

Peter Dwyer (@ProfPeteDwyer) is Professor of Social Policy at the University of York. His research focuses on social citizenship, migration, and inclusion, and he directs the multi-site ESRC-funded project, Welfare Conditionality: Sanctions, Support and Behaviour Change.

David Goodhart (@David_Goodhart) is Head of the Demography, Immigration and Integration Unit at the think tank Policy Exchange. He is the founder and former editor of Prospect magazine, and author of The British Dream: Successes and Failures of Post-War Immigration and The Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics, a Sunday Times bestseller.

Celestin Okoroji is a PhD student at the LSE Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science. His research focuses on the ways in which ideas associated with stigmatised groups become a part of stigmatised group member’s self-concept, with a focus on the unemployed in Britain.

Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington is Assistant Professor of Social Psychology at the LSE Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science. Her research focuses on the psychology of poverty and intergroup relations in the context of widening economic inequality. 

Twitter hashtags for this event: #LSEBeveridge #LSEFestival

This event is part of the LSE Festival: Beveridge 2.0 running from Monday 19 to Saturday 24 February 2018, with a series of events rethinking the welfare state for the 21st century and the global context. 


A podcast of this event is available to download from Identity and the Welfare State: evolving challenges for sustaining social solidarity.

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