Women doubly governed: offering a governmentality analysis to solve the apparent paradox of the current cohabitation rule
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The cohabitation rule basically aims to ensure that an unmarried couple does not receive financial advantage from social security over a married couple. It thus denies certain payments to those who are living in certain types of relationships. This paper ponders the apparent paradox that the cohabitation rule seems to enforce women’s dependence on men, while current Australian social security increasingly focuses on independent individuals. This paper offers a solution to this apparent paradox through a governmentality analysis of the cohabitation rule. A governmentality analysis allows for simultaneous political rationalities. In particular, this paper shows how welfarist and neo-liberal political rationalities govern simultaneously through the cohabitation rule. Welfarist political rationality governs dependent women, while neoliberal political rationality governs independent individuals. This means that, in effect, women are doubly governed through the cohabitation rule. They are governed as dependent women, and also governed as independent individuals.
Sociology for a mobile world TASA 2006
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