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The shame of itGlobal perspectives on anti-poverty policies$
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Erika K. Gubrium, Sony Pellissery, and Ivar Lødemel

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781447308713

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447308713.001.0001

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date: 19 August 2017

Separating the sheep from the goats: tackling poverty in Britain for over four centuries

Separating the sheep from the goats: tackling poverty in Britain for over four centuries

Chapter:
(p.133) Seven Separating the sheep from the goats: tackling poverty in Britain for over four centuries
Source:
The shame of it
Author(s):

Robert Walker

Elaine Chase

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447308713.003.0007

Policy debates surrounding poverty in the UK are fundamentally framed by eligibility to welfare benefits and by dominant discourses surrounding those who are deserving, or conversely, undeserving of welfare assistance. While in the past there have been significant differences in these constructions of poverty along party political lines, more recently (and specifically since the inception of the coalition government and a period of rising economic austerity) there appears to be a tendency towards greater convergence in political discourse across political divides around paid employment as the litmus test for deserving ‘citizenship’ and the consequent need to punish and restrict assistance to those who are deemed unworthy of receiving welfare benefits. This chapter illustrates the highly symbiotic relationship between political debate, the media and public perceptions of who should and should not benefit from poverty-alleviation strategies in the UK. Consequently it shows how the requirement to shame the undeserving inevitably infiltrates the framing of anti-poverty policy and dominates political and public dialogue surrounding poverty-related issues.

Keywords:   UK, Deserving vs undeserving, Rising austerity, Social assistance

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