Framing the 'scroungers': the re-emergence of the stereotype of the undeserving poor and its reflection in the British press

Title: Framing the 'scroungers': the re-emergence of the stereotype of the undeserving poor and its reflection in the British press
Source document: Brno studies in English. 2015, vol. 41, iss. 2, pp. [121]-139
  • ISSN
    0524-6881 (print)
    1805-0867 (online)
Type: Article
License: Not specified license

Notice: These citations are automatically created and might not follow citation rules properly.

The article deals with British press coverage of a social group traditionally referred to in conservative discourse as the undeserving poor. The perception of the poor as either deserving or not deserving of state assistance on a moral basis is put into the context of the present public financial crisis, in which a justification for welfare cuts is being sought. It is shown that conservative-minded British papers (The Times, The Telegraph and The Daily Mail) uphold the Coalition government's hardened attitude towards benefits claimants, while progressiveminded papers (The Guardian, The Independent) refute the existence of the undeserving poor, looking instead for structural explanations of poverty-related phenomena. The main frames used to depict the undeserving poor are identified as fecklessness, anti-social behaviour and a something-for-nothing culture. The article draws on the work of frame theorist Shanto Iyengar and linguist George Lakoff, as well as on various social research reports on poverty in Britain.
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