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