Larsen, Christian Albrekt1; Dejgaard, Thomas Engel1
1 Centre for Comparative Welfare Studies - CCWS, The Faculty of Social Sciences, Aalborg University, VBN2 Department of Political Science, The Faculty of Social Sciences, Aalborg University, VBN3 The Faculty of Social Sciences, Aalborg University, VBN
The article investigates how the poor and welfare recipients are depicted in British, Danish and Swedish newspapers. The study was inspired by American media studies that have documented a negative stereotypic way of portraying the poor and welfare recipients; especially in the case they are African-Americans. The article argues that there is an institutional welfare-regime logic behind the way the poor and welfare recipients are depicted in the mass media. It is not only a matter of race. This argument is substantiated by showing that the poor and welfare recipients are a) also depicted negatively in a liberal welfare-regime, the UK, where most of the poor and welfare recipients are perceived to be white, and b), depicted positively in two social-democratic welfare regimes, Sweden and Denmark, where the poor and welfare recipients increasingly have come to be perceived as non-white, especially in Denmark. The empirical analyses are based on a sample of 1750 British, 1750 Danish and 1750 Swedish newspapers covering the period from 2004 to 2009.
Journal of European Social Policy, 2013, Vol 23, Issue 3, p. 287-299