Active labour market policy (ALMP) reforms have fundamentally changed welfare states over the last decades. Their objectives are quite diverse: workfare reforms have increased conditionality and sanctioning of benefits, while enabling reforms have extended education and training opportunities for the unemployed. Little is known about the political discourse on ALMP reforms. We investigate how the individual unemployed person is portrayed in ALMP reforms via a comparative coding analysis of parliamentary debates on labour market reforms that took place in Germany in 2003 (workfare) and in 2016 (enabling). Our results indicate that compared to enabling reforms the individual unemployed is less important in the framing of workfare reforms but more often blamed. Party characteristics matter: parties on the left more often point to the deservingness of the unemployed. However, when the social democratic party in government introduced a workfare reform they used blaming of unemployed persons as a framing strategy.
Ariaans, M; Reibling, N (2022): Constructions of Unemployed Individuals in German Parliamentary Debates on Active Labour Market Policy Reforms: A Comparative Analysis of 2003 and 2016. In: Social Policy and Society, 1–18.