Publication Details

Marston, G., Zhang, J., Peterie, M., Ramia, G., Patulny, R. & Cooke, E. (2019). To move or not to move: mobility decision-making in the context of welfare conditionality and paid employment. Mobilities, 14 (5), 596-611.


The mobility and agency of the unemployed have rarely been examined together in welfare administration. Mobility research has much to offer the (im)mobility of low-skilled and unemployed workers. The article begins by critically examining dominant public discourse and policy reforms that stigmatise the assumed immobility of the unemployed. Drawing on empirical data from in-depth interviews with people on income support payments in Australia, it then offers a critical view on the mobility decision-making processes of these job-seekers. Building on previous research concerning the politics of mobility, it shows that structural inequalities impact mobility choices, making relocation difficult for many job-seekers. At the same time, it highlights the localised mobility that job search now involves, complicating orthodox associations between mobility and power-as well as assumptions that job-seekers are immobile.

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