Living with and responding to the ‘scrounger’ narrative in the UK: exploring everyday strategies of acceptance, resistance and deflection

Author: Ruth Patrick1
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  • 1 University of Liverpool, UK
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In the UK, a dominant narrative operates to stereotype and stigmatise out-of-work benefit claimants as inactive welfare dependents who require activation if they are to enter paid employment and behave responsibly. Drawing upon a small-scale qualitative longitudinal study into lived experiences of welfare reform, this paper explores how out-of-work claimants respond to this dominant narrative. The paper illustrates the reach of benefits stigma, and the strategies adopted by claimants to manage such stigma: most notably via an ‘othering’ of those deemed less deserving. It is argued that this ‘othering’ is best understood as an admittedly defensive form of citizenship engagement.

  • 1 University of Liverpool, UK

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