SSP Seminar | Marketisation and the regulatory reconfiguration of disability work under the National Disability Insurance Scheme
Monday 19 October, 1-2 PM via Zoom. Please contact Dinesh Wadiwel for Zoom details
Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is often characterised as a market-led reform, given its explicit focus on choice, competition and efficiency. In this paper we argue that as well as a market regime, the NDIS can also be characterised as a regulatory regime governing the organisation of work and care in the disability sector. The sociological literature on regulation typically takes a macro approach in which regulation is conceptualised in terms of the state’s role in managing markets. Drawing on the findings of a national survey of 2,341 Australian disability service workers, this paper explores how disability workers themselves intervene in the regulatory process through acts of self-regulation, tolerance, accommodation and resistance. Our findings show that the regulatory reconfiguration of disability services under the NDIS has not only entailed the ‘individualisation’ of funding, but has also individualised employment relations within the disability sector, placing new risks and responsibilities onto workers. We explore the scope and nature of these risks and responsibilities, and their implications for service quality, using quantitative and qualitative evidence collected via the survey.
About the Speaker
Georgia Van Toorn is a political sociologist whose principal interests are in social policy and welfare research, and the political economy of disability and care work. Her research program comprises a series of projects that investigate the politics of social policy reform, the organisation and delivery of social care, and care work in publicly funded social services in which market-oriented principles, processes, vocabularies and mechanisms have been adopted, both in Australia and internationally. Georgia is currently working as a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Sydney, where she is researching the history of sociology in Australia.