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Recommodification and the Welfare State in Re/Financialised Austerity Capitalism: Further Eroding Social Citizenship?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 October 2020

Fiona Dukelow*
University College Cork, Ireland E-mail:


This article reviews the recommodification of social policy in the context of financialised austerity capitalism and post-crisis welfare states. It sets out an understanding of recommodification as a multiple set of processes that involve the state in labour market-making, by shaping labour’s ‘saleability’. Under conditions of finance-dominated austerity capitalism, the article argues that recent dynamics of recommodification complicate the long established Piersonian observations. For Pierson, recommodification signifies how elements of the welfare state that shelter individuals from market pressures are dismantled and replaced with measures which buffer their labour market participation. This article examines ways in which recent policy trends in recommodification, whether by incentivising or coercive means, increase exposure to labour market risks and connect with the growing inequalities between capital and labour under post-crisis re/financialised austerity capitalism. This analysis is paired with a synoptic review of recent labour market trends and reforms across the European Union. As recommodification evolves, the insecurity it institutes raises fundamental questions about the underlying nature of social citizenship which are also addressed.

Themed Section: A Hostile Decade for Social Policy: Economic Crisis, Political Crisis and Austerity 2010-20
© Cambridge University Press 2020

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