UPWEB: Understanding the Practice and Developing the Concept of Welfare Bricolage

This project will reconceptualise welfare theory through responding to the question of how all residents living in superdiverse neighbourhoods access healthcare. Such a focus is pertinent given increasing population complexity, heterogeneity and pace of change under globalisation, and the subsequent need to rethink welfare design, alongside issues of engagement, approachability and effectiveness. Using innovative techniques including street-mapping, community research and a mobile phone “app” alongside a neighbourhood survey, we explore the multiple approaches that residents living in superdiverse neighbourhoods use to meet their health needs, encompassing the perspectives of service users and providers. We will generate new theoretical and practical insights through the development of models of welfare bricolage: the practice by which individuals combine formal, informal and virtual health services across public, private and third sectors in an attempt to meet need. We use a comparative/sequential approach to interrogate local welfare states across eight deprived and upwardly mobile superdiverse neighbourhoods in four different national welfare states (UK, Portugal, Germany and Sweden) each with different welfare, health and migration regimes. By focussing on key features of superdiverse neighbourhoods where residents are differentiated according to faith, income (including socio-economic status), age, gender and legal status, we bring new insights with societal, practical and policy relevance. The study will illuminate inequalities and diversity in respect of individuals’ relationship with healthcare, different modes of provision, and responsibilities for welfare allocation.

Project links

Research team

Prof. J.A. Phillimore
University of Birmingham

Prof. H. Bradby
Uppsala University

Prof. M. Knecht
Universität Bremen

Prof. B. Padilla
University of Minho