Scroungers: Moral Panics and Media Myths (Hardback)James Morrison (author)
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Scroungers, spongers, parasites ...
These are just are some of the terms that are typically used, with increasing frequency, to describe the most vulnerable in our society, whether they be the sick, the disabled, or the unemployed. Long a popular scapegoat for all manner of social ills, under austerity we've seen hostility towards benefit claimants reach new levels of hysteria, with the `undeserving poor' blamed for everything from crime to even rising levels of child abuse.
While the tabloid press has played its role in fuelling this hysteria, the proliferation of social media has added a disturbing new dimension to this process, spreading and reinforcing scare stories, while normalising the perception of poverty as a form of `deviancy' that runs contrary to the neoliberal agenda. Provocative and illuminating, Scroungers explores and analyses the ways in which the poor are portrayed both in print and online, placing these attitudes in a wider breakdown of social trust and community cohesion.
Publisher: Zed Books Ltd
Number of pages: 332
Dimensions: 222 x 140 mm
`From "scroungerphobia" to "shirkophobia", Morrison throws a penetrating light on the politics of the pernicious demonization and othering of social security claimants in the social media age.'
Ruth Lister, Loughborough University (Emeritus)
`If there was any doubt that scroungerphobia was accidental, Morrison shows us the opposite - it is a carefully constructed and dangerous discourse attached to the "undeserving" in society. This book provides an essential counter-narrative to this hysteria.'
Kayleigh Garthwaite, University of Birmingham
`Unmasks the motives and mechanisms behind anti-welfare discourses through a forensic analysis of ideological ploys by right-wing politicians, wilfully distorted narratives in traditional media and vitriolic outpourings in social media. A highly original contribution to the sociology of hate.'
Charles Critcher, Swansea University
`The demonising of the poor has long been at the core of British social policy. Morrison's important study brings this story into the digital age, and is essential to understanding the role of the media in sustaining this brutal rhetoric.'
Peter Golding, Northumbria University (Emeritus)
`Meticulously revisits and dissects press and TV misrepresentation of so-called "shirkers". The book is ultimately optimistic, appearing at a time when many are now questioning the neo-liberal consensus that has sustained these anti-welfare narratives.'
Dominic Wring, Loughborough University
`Morrison examines how the press helped to prepare public opinion for the government's unprecedented attack on Britain's welfare state. A robust and important contribution to the debate on how the media shapes attitudes towards the poor.'
Mike Berry, Cardiff University
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