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Cohen, M. (2016). Abuse and grievance as alternatives to conflict, mourning and social change. IJP Open, 3:73.

(2016). IJP Open, 3:73

Abuse and grievance as alternatives to conflict, mourning and social change

Mark Cohen

This paper advances a psychosocial hypothesis in understanding relations between recipients, and providers of welfare. While the paper is written from the perspective of public services in the UK, it is suggested that the associated social, economic and organisational processes are not confined to this region. The paper draws upon a range of information suggesting that antagonistic relationships are increasing and have a significant effect on the culture of services. It is argued that an important emotional aspect of these relations is abusive and this form of relating is underpinned by shame. The paper suggests that exposure to shame is more prevalent in a social world marked by increasing inequalities and environmental failures. Further examination of the social context suggests how unhelpful or abusive relations may be manifest between welfare providers and recipients, as well as in the relations between welfare staff. It is suggested that established relations of this type act to limit development, in this case a social development.

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