Social Policy Review 30
Analysis and debate in social policy, 2018

Eight: Social policy and populism: welfare nationalism as the new narrative of social citizenship

This chapter investigates the relationship between far-right populism and social policy. The chapter argues that an approach anchored in framing and policy narratives will yield new understandings of how far-right populist discourses have come to challenge social democratic and neoliberal welfare narratives. The new narrative challenges and denigrates the economic and political elite as self-serving and corrupt, claiming to represent the interest of the ‘people’ instead. In defining ‘people’, the interests of certain societal groups are prioritised on the bases of culture or ethnicity. Importantly for social policy, this chapter argues, in this universal social rights and social citizenship are reframed in ethno-nationalist and welfare chauvinist terms. The chapter draws upon the case of Sweden in order to briefly exemplify the discursive strategies at play.

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