More than one in three eligible persons in Germany reject social benefits. This field of "hidden poverty" (Becker 2005) has so far been little studied, especially from a sociological perspective on social policy, its occurrence, use and effect. With her study, sfs researcher Jennifer Eckhardt now publishes an approach that focuses on the target group and investigates the socio-structural background of the renunciation, asks which developments favor it and which side effects can arise.
After a foreword by Angelika Poferl, the central welfare state category of "neediness/indigence" is problematized, and the current culture of the welfare state is classified in terms of a historical and contemporary diagnosis. On the basis of interpretative case-by-case analyses, patterns of renunciation are then worked out in order to abstract a specific "indigence-dispositif " which, with its internal structures of political models, socio-cultural narratives, artifacts and objectivations, formulates demands on the addressees of the welfare state. According to one of the study's findings, renunciation can be understood as a negation, with which individuals reject the imposed categorization as "indigent" along with the connotations they themselves see in it. This also gives rise to further areas of tension and conflict relevant to the principle of the welfare state, which are described in the book's conclusion as (side) consequences of renunciation.
The book is published in the series "Wissenskulturen", edited by Angelika Poferl and Reiner Keller and can be ordered on the publisher's website as a print product or e-book.