This article focuses on welfare surveillance as a sociological sub-discipline and a specific issue that has emerged in the past two decades in relation to the neoliberal revolution and the transformation of social systems in the West. The paper has three main goals: (1) a theoretical conceptualisation of welfare surveillance based on an analysis of existing empirical research; (2) an analysis of socio-practical manifestations and impacts of welfare surveillance; and (3) a contextualisation of the implementation of welfare surveillance within the Czech social milieu during recent social reforms. Within the scope of the first two goals, the author shows that welfare surveillance is theoretically construed along the lines of a specific combination of social justice and neoliberal governmentality, and that welfare surveillance enables the application of specific illiberal practices to welfare applicants and recipients in order to effectively discipline and normalise them, which results in the stigmatisation and criminalisation of recipients. Given that there is relatively little research on surveillance in the Czech Republic, the article opens with an introduction to the issue of surveillance.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.