The Troubled Families Programme: in, for and against the state?

I’ve had a chapter published in the latest Social Policy Review, the annual publication of the Social Policy Association.

The Troubled Families Programme: in, for and against the state?


The Troubled Families Programme (TFP), established by the Coalition Government in the aftermath of the 2011 riots, set out to ‘turn around’ the lives of the 120,000 most ‘troubled families’ in England. When the rhetoric surrounding ‘troubled families’ is closely examined, a number of competing, and often contradictory, messages begin to emerge. This chapter examines the ways in which the Troubled Families Programme is positioned firstly by central government and secondly by local authorities and practitioners. Adopting a ‘street-level lens’ (Brodkin 2011a), interviews with managers and workers in one local authority area are analysed to examine ‘the complexity of interactions concealed beneath the apparent monotony of bureaucratic routine’ (Bourdieu, 2005: 140). The chapter concludes with reflections on the Janus-faced nature of the Troubled Families Programme and a discussion of its role in the crafting of a new ‘smart’ state.

I’ve uploaded a pre-review section of the chapter to my Academia profile here and you should also be able to see a pdf of it by clicking the link below.

In for and against the state pre-review