Moral entrepreneurs, ‘radical reform’ and factoids

This is a blog I did for the ESRC Moral Panics Seminar Series. It looks in detail at how the case for ‘radical reform’ of family services is being constructed by Louise Casey, the Director of the Troubled Families Unit

ESRC Moral Panic Seminar Series, 2012 - 2014

The current focus on ‘troubled families’ is only the latest episode of a long running concern with a perceived ‘underclass’ in our society. In the true spirit of previous ‘moral panics’ these families have undoubtedly been ‘defined as a threat to societal values and interests’ and, as we will see below, their ‘nature is presented in a stylized and stereotypical fashion’ (Cohen 2002, p1).

The role of chief ‘moral entrepreneur’ (Becker 1963) in this episode is arguably held by Louise Casey, the Director of the Troubled Families Unit in the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). Casey has been successful in helping to secure the ‘massive expansion’ of the Troubled Families Programme (TFP) to include 400,000 newly identified ‘high-risk families’ accompanied by £200 million of extra central government funding. The ‘success’ of the TFP has also been used as justification for wider reforms to the way that public services…

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