occluded ways in which welfare reform is advancing and may provide opportunities forresistance (Fairclough, 2000: 167). More fundamentally, such inquiry gives insight intothe rhetorical nature of social welfare politics itself (Finlayson, 2004).This paper aims to trace the rise, demise and, ultimately,
of welfare within NewZealand, exploring shifts in the vocabulary and concepts across recent decades:
First, it outlines the growing attention to how language constitutes the boundaries of debate.
Third, the paper interrogates New Zealand developments, tracing the end of welfareand the rise of ‘social development’.
Fourth, the paper explores the discursive calling of ‘social development’ and itsimplications for citizenship debates.
Social policy, methodoltry and the linguistic turn
Thestudyofwelfarepolicyemanatesfromsocialadministrationandafocusondescribinginstitutions and their consequences. Inherent to social administration was a rational andoptimistic approach to policy design and the belief that social problems were objective,identiﬁable and open to amelioration. The focus of inquiry was broadly positivisticand institutions and legislation were described, their implementation difﬁculties anddeﬁciencies noted and changes suggested (Schram, 1995; Jacobs and Manzi, 1996).For critics, such a stance was a-theoretical or even anti-theoretical – guilty of ‘methodoltry’, lacking analytical rigour and attempting to alleviate symptoms whilstignoring causes.
From the 1960s and early 1970s, a range of structural inﬂuences beganto challenge such views, while a growing cultural inﬂuence attempted to reconceptualisehow vocabulary, metaphor and discourse worked
human and policy sciences.Traditionally language was seen as
objects and experience, and observationlanguage was expected to act as a conduit to the truth. In the language turn, languagebecameseenasinteractionalandconstitutiveofdebates(Ortony,1984)withvocabularies,concepts and metaphors facilitating investigation of diverse political realities by framingthese realities along the way. Metaphors, for example, rather than taking pictures of aworld that exists are constitutive of world-making (Kittay, 1987; Hastings, 1999; Schmidt,2001a,b; also Williams, 1976). One tradition, that of problem constructionism, beganto engage in a detailed exploration of the mechanisms whereby the social world was‘problematised’ or ‘normalised’.In these processes, disadvantage and inequality become reproduced, and failure tounderstand how theoretical discourse is used in social debate, political analysis andcultural transmission is to collude in the maintenance of systems of inequality, power andcontrol (Shapiro, 1981; Bourdieu, 1991; Fairclough, 2001). Consequently, vocabularyand language transcend an interest in ‘mere words’ to embrace how the political world isdeﬁned, controlled, legitimised and power relations sustained (Fairclough, 2001: 75). Thetextual and the social are thus intricately linked and knowledge-power is a fundamentalform of critical analysis (Milliken, 1999).Thisfocusonlanguagehas,ineffect,thrownatheoreticalhand-grenadeintothemidstof positivist and empirical social sciences and the fallout continues to reverberate through