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News media representations of people receiving income support and the production of stigma power: An empirical analysis of reporting on two Australian welfare payments

journal contribution
posted on 2023-03-30, 02:57 authored by S Martin, T Schofield, P Butterworth
People receiving working-age income support payments are often stigmatised as morally and/or behaviourally deficient. We consider the role of the media, as a potential source of structural stigma, in perpetuating negative characterisations of people in receipt of either the Disability Support Pension (DSP) or unemployment benefits (Newstart) during a major period of welfare reform in Australia. Newspaper articles (N = 8290) that appeared in Australia’s five largest newspapers between 2001 and 2016, and referenced either payment were analysed. We found an increased use of fraud language associated with the DSP, which coincides with increased political and policy focus on this payment. We conclude that in a period of increasing political concern with welfare reform, media coverage of welfare recipients is a form of stigma power, acting discursively as symbolic violence.

History

Journal

Critical Social Policy

Volume

42

Article number

ARTN 02610183211073945

Pagination

648-670

ISSN

0261-0183

eISSN

1461-703X

Language

English

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Issue

4

Publisher

SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD