Paper $26.95 ISBN: 9781786992130 Published February 2019 For sale in North and South America only
Cloth $95.00 ISBN: 9781786992147 Published February 2019 For sale in North and South America only

Scroungers

Moral Panics and Media Myths

James Morrison

Scroungers

James Morrison

Distributed for Zed Books

304 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Paper $26.95 ISBN: 9781786992130 Published February 2019 For sale in North and South America only
Cloth $95.00 ISBN: 9781786992147 Published February 2019 For sale in North and South America only
Scroungers, sponges, leeches. These are just are some of the terms that are now used to describe the most vulnerable in our society, whether they are sick, disabled, or unemployed. Even the programs they draw from are often called “entitlements,” linking social assistance to something seen as self-serving. People who depend on welfare programs have long been a popular scapegoat for all manner of social ills, but in recent years hostility towards them has reached new levels of hysteria, with the “undeserving poor” blamed for everything from crime to rising levels of child abuse.

While some of the press has played its role in fueling this hysteria, the proliferation of social media has added a disturbing new dimension to this process. Debunked posts about food stamp use or inner-city violence spread unabated and reinforce scare stories while normalizing the perception of poverty as a form of deviancy. In this provocative and illuminating new book, journalist and researcher James Morrison explores and analyzes the ways in which the poor are portrayed both in print and online, and how it affects the beliefs of those who consume this media. He also puts these attitudes into a wider context showing how they can lead to a breakdown in social trust and community cohesion and further hurt the very people who need the most help.
Review Quotes
Peter Golding, Northumbria University (Emeritus)
“The demonizing of the poor has long been at the core of British social policy. Morrison’s important study brings this story into the digital age, and is essential to understanding the role of the media in sustaining this brutal rhetoric.”
Kayleigh Garthwaite, University of Birmingham
“If there was any doubt that scroungerphobia was accidental, Morrison shows us the opposite—it is a carefully constructed and dangerous discourse attached to the ‘undeserving’ in society. This book provides an essential counter-narrative to this hysteria.”
Charles Critcher, Sheffield Hallam University (Emeritus)
“Unmasks the motives and mechanisms behind anti-welfare discourses through a forensic analysis of ideological ploys by right-wing politicians, willfully distorted narratives in traditional media, and vitriolic outpourings in social media. A highly original contribution to the sociology of hate.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit https://www.press.uchicago.edu
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