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Taiwan World Convention 2022


Criminalising the Working Class and Benefit Claimants: Contrasting Costs of Crime and Blame

Thursday March 24, 1pm - 5.25pm (TWT)​


Chris Tilly

University of California Los Angeles, USA


Informal and Precarious Work in a Global Context

Informal and precarious work are not new; they arose with capitalist labour markets and have always remained present at the margins of that market, populated above all by marginalised groups such as migrants, women, youth, disabled persons, and subordinate racial and ethnic groups.  But today informal and precarious work is spreading to places and populations where it hadn’t been found before. How can we defend the quality of jobs that are being degraded by informalisation and precaritisation?  A key part of the answer is organising by the workers involved.  In this presentation, I will review some of the emergent patterns in a growing surge of self-organisation by informal and precarious workers.


Adina Karten

Freelance Researcher, USA


Disabled People’s Street-Begging: An Ancient Livelihood Necessitated by Urbanity

Disabled people often complain about invisibility amidst stares.  While disabled people have made up a significant number of street-beggars dating back to the first civilisations, some aspects of disabled street-begging remain ignored in plain sight by academia as well. This presenter weaves reflexive encounters she has had with disabled street beggars to give insight into invisible live while giving reflection into her own positionality.  Due to the vulnerable nature of the population and difficulty in performing research with this sometimes transient and informally employed population prevents systematic review of disabled street-beggars’ day-to-day lives.  This paper proposes that intervention will be aided by ethnographic detail onto the causal factors leading to disabled street-begging and recognition that though street-beggars often act individually, their informal deviant livelihood is necessitated by the structure of the global metropolitan economy which renders them unemployed or unemployable.   


Fernando Fontes

University of Coimbra, Portugal


Disabled people’s Access to Employment in Portugal: A Preliminary Analysis

Independent Living, is based on the idea that disabled people should control all the decisions that affect their lives and on the recognition of the right of disabled people to live in contexts in which they are not subjugated by the logics of dependency (Barnes and Mercer 2006). As is the case for the non-disabled people, access to the labour market and to paid work plays a central role in the construction of disabled people’s self-determination and control over their own lives. Plus, access to paid work is a source of social value, of personal self-esteem and a protection against poverty. The exclusion of disabled people from the labour market, thus reinforces disabled people’s social disadvantage and perpetuates the link between disability and poverty.


In Portugal, despite the provisions of the Labour Code (Law 7/2009, of 12 February) and the different policy measures introduced, the activity rate and the employment rate for disabled people, when compared to non-disabled people, continues to lag behind. Furthermore, an analysis of the unemployment rate of disabled and non-disabled people in Portugal evidences a contradictory evolution for the period 2011 – 2017, with a decrease of 34.5% for the non-disabled population and an increase of 24% for the disabled population (ODDH, 2018: 30).


This presentation, based on my current research on discrimination and violence against disabled people in Portugal (Ref. 2020.01127.CEECIND/CP1627/CT0004), aims at characterising the phenomenon of disabled people’s exclusion from the labour market in Portugal, to analyse policy measures introduced to promote disabled people’s employment rate and their impact.

Alexis Buettgen

McMaster University, Canada


Disability - Inclusion in the Green Economy: Opportunities and Barriers

The global climate crisis is changing the present and future of work. Global temperature rises, rainfall variability and severe weather events are leading to the destruction of infrastructure and the decline of different economic sectors which are resulting in increased unemployment, displacement, and access to safe working conditions (ILO, 2018). The negative impacts of climate change are amplified for persons with disabilities who already face significant barriers to employment. They are also vulnerable to the risks and hazards associated with climate change including greater risk of injury, disease, and death due to more intense floods, heat waves and fires. The consequences of climate change are especially severe for persons with disabilities that experience intersecting forms of discrimination in the world of work including women, youth, indigenous and tribal peoples, racialised persons, older persons, displaced populations, migrant workers, and other marginalised groups.


The green economy presents a unique opportunity as it is defined as low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive. Its key features include the creation of jobs that pay a living wage and promote income equality. However, the transition to a green economy has the potential to both dismantle and reinforce social inequities for persons with disabilities. The objectives of this presentation are to increase understanding of the connections between disability, climate action and the green economy; and present ongoing research on the barriers and opportunities for inclusion of people with disabilities in a just transition to environmentally sustainable economies and societies.

Ben Jessop, Bob Jeffrey & Peter Thomas

Sheffield Hallam University, England


From the Ordinary to the Exceptional: An Aetiology of Work-Based Harm During Covid-19

The last few years have witnessed a number of attempts to apply the framework of ‘social harm’ - developed out of critical criminology (Hillyard and Tombs, 2004) - to those harms engendered by work and employment under capitalism (Scott, 2017; Lloyd, 2018). Nevertheless, these frameworks are characterised by (in the case of Scott) a functionalist perspective that tends to occlude the ordinary – or ‘operational’ – harms of work under capitalism, and (in the case of Lloyd) an ‘ultra-realist’ perspective (Hall and Winlow, 2015) that tends to minimise the possibility for workers’ agency or resistance. In an attempt to produce a more holistic model grounded in Marxism, this paper proposes an analysis of the harms of work in contemporary British capitalism as being an outcome of 1) capitalist strategy, 2) regulation by the capitalist state, 3) the role of ideology, and 4) worker (dis)organisation. Using a schematic elaboration of this model in relation to low-paid service workers on precarious contracts in the City of Sheffield (cf. Thomas et al, 2020), we explore how the ‘operational’ harms of work are being intensified under the ongoing neoliberalisation of the UK economy (and are part of a wider assault on the working-class). Finally, we will demonstrate how such operational harms are intimately related to the ‘exceptional’ harms produced by crisis events, in this case the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK from March 2020 onwards (analysed principally in terms of job loss, loss of income and exposure to the virus).


Liao Pei Ru

NPUST, Taiwan


The Conflicts of Working-Class Masculinity and Violence in the DV Perpetrators’ Intervention Program: A Case Study of County T in Taiwan

The Domestic Violence Prevention Act has been enacted in Taiwan for more than three decades. Not until the 2010s did the government begin to provide little services other than punishment to DV perpetrators. This paper presents a case study of DV perpetrators’ intervention program in County T to illustrate how the dominating ideology of women’s protection in the DV prevention network becomes conflicting among social workers who provide services to the perpetrators. Participant observations (from 2020 to 2021), clinical data mining (from 2020 to 2021), and nine in-depth interviews of workers associated with the program (in 2021) are used in a more extensive research project, and this paper focuses on the qualitative analysis of the in-depth interviews. A preliminary analysis of the clinical data collected from the program’s services has shown that most clients are working-class men. 


The analysis of the in-depth interviews has shown the following findings. First, gendered roles in the sex scripts and scripts of intimate relationships result in the recurrence of intimate relationship violence. Second, the construction of working-class masculinity becomes a barrier against social services and help from professionals. Third, the Duluth-CBT model of IPV perpetrators’ programs is less likely to transform the perpetrators than personalised social services. Fourth, the women’s protection ideology shaped the DV prevention network into pro-punishment practices against the perpetrators and stands in between the workers’ and the perpetrators’ work alliances. Fifth, a further understanding of the ACE-IPV link could help workers build from the  bottom up rather than the top-down cognitive transforming techniques utilised when providing services. The interviews illustrate that the over-generalisation of DV perpetrates and distorts incidences, whilst the women’s protection ideology fails to examine the contributing factors of DV and IPV closely. Also, the middle-class ideology embedded in the DV prevention network makes it difficult to be aware of different types of masculinity in society.

Clare Mawson

York St John University, England


Lost Before Lockdown: The Hidden Generation Let Down by Compulsory Schooling

The closing of schools to most children during the Covid 19 outbreak on an unprecedented scale not even witnessed during the World War conflicts, created ripples of panic across the country.  The risk to the future life chances of children and young people has caused the nation to respond; from celebrities teaching children online to footballers influencing government policy.  The risks associated with inaccessible school proved an unbearable thought to many.  Yet the last decade has witnessed thousands of children and young people being unable to access school. These children and young people have special educational needs and disabilities, yet despite harrowing media stories about children being socially isolated with their future unknown, the country did not respond.  Policy interventions spanning decades, with the intention of inclusion and reaching potential remain – yet many children remain invisible and forgotten.  This paper considers how policies, politicians and educational professionals speak of children as a collective yet fail to see the generation lost before lockdown.


Teresa Crew

Bangor University, Wales


The Day to Day Experiences of Working Class Academics Navigating Academia

Working-class academics make an interesting case study on class inequalities. They are heralded as the poster boys/girls of widening participation policies when they enter higher education, yet their achievements (and struggles) are lost (or ignored, for the cynical among us), if they become academics.  Drawing on extensive qualitative data, new ways of examining imposter syndrome, alienation and micro-aggressions: all common to the working-class experience of academia are presented. The presentation will demonstrate the complexity of class and highlight how we can move forward so working-class academics are no longer ‘queer subjects’ (Hey, 2003).


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