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Framing and shaming: The 2017 welfare cheats, cheat us all campaign

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-24, 14:25 authored by Martin PowerMartin Power, Eoin DevereuxEoin Devereux, Majka RyanMajka Ryan

The repeated circulation of anti-welfare discourses has served to encourage limited and often incorrect public understandings of issues pertaining to welfare. Central to these processes is the social construction of notions of ‘deservedness’ and ‘undeservedness.’ In this article we examine the 2017 ‘Welfare Cheats, Cheat Us All’ (original emphasis) campaign initiated by the Department of Social Protection in the Republic of Ireland. We present our analysis of the dominant discourses evident in the campaign itself and the in-house discussions in the lead up to the campaign. Our article shows that this Irish campaign rehearses a familiar international discourse which follows distinct patterns or rules, and we evidence, in keeping with other moral panics, the spurious nature of the data being used to exaggerate the scale and extent of welfare ‘fraud’.

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Publication

Social Policy and Society, 2022, 21 (4), pp.646-656

Publisher

Cambridge University Press

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  • Sociology

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