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Welfare Reform on the Web (September 2008): Services for the disabled - UK

Disability and the implications of the wellbeing agenda: some reflections from the United Kingdom

C. Edwards and R. Imrie

Journal of Social Policy, vol. 37, 2008, p. 337-355

An agenda for promoting wellbeing or happiness among citizens has recently emerged in government. It is assumed that wellbeing is associated with being healthy, fit, employed and engaged in society. Government seeks to minimise negative emotions through interventions which seek to create conditions that encourage citizens to pursue lifestyles that promote wellbeing. This article explores the wellbeing agenda in the UK and its implications for disabled people. It is argued that this agenda will not promote the inclusion of disabled people in society due to its emphasis on self-responsibility and self-care, and may in fact further stigmatise them for not conforming to the wellbeing ideal.

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