I’m delighted that a couple of new publications from this project about incapacity benefits across the twentieth century have appeared recently. You can find full details of these articles and how to access them on the publications page – link here
Gulland, J., 2017. Working while incapable to work? Changing concepts of permitted work in the UK disability benefit system. Disability Studies Quarterly 37.
Gulland, J., 2017. All under one umbrella? The Family Guide to National Insurance 1948. Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly 68, 259–270.
This article tells the story of the ‘Family Guide to National Insurance’ which I found unexpectedly in an archive while looking for something else. The Guide was published in 1948 and was intended to inform the public about their rights and responsibilities under the new National Insurance scheme. But the story of the Guide is more complicated than that. When I first saw the Guide I noticed the owls – and I wrote about this on the blog here
The pictures struck me as quirky, but rather patronising. I tried to find out more about them but couldn’t find any trace of the artist or who decided to include them. But I did find a survey, carried out in 1948 to find out what the public thought of the leaflet. There was no mention of the owls in the survey but there was a lot of interesting material about what people thought. Mainly, people didn’t read the booklet or didn’t understand what it was about. I wondered why a booklet with these kinds of pictures seemed to everyone else to be just a boring government leaflet. I took part in a conference presentation where we had to make a model about our research. I wrote about the conference on the blog here. My model was a mock up of the leaflet, complete with a boring cover and a pop-up owl
The article in the Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly tells the story of how I used this model to think about the meaning of the Family Guide to National Insurance. This article is part of a special issue on using models to think about socio-legal research – read more about other people’s explorations with legal model making here