Blame avoidance, Bourdieu, scapegoating, symbolic power, welfare


Taking a Bourdieusian perspective, this paper illustrates how one politically staged TV broadcast on a receiver of benefit payment has triggered political scapegoating in Denmark. The case has challenged the prevailing welfare state discourse and fostered the construction of a low class with a “sense of entitlement” by the media.

We show that the media adopted the notion of a “sense of entitlement” originally used by politicians. Welfare state critical phrases and proverbs experienced a revival.

We claim that this one-sided rhetoric abstracts from political responsibility and that power, agenda-building and rhetoric act as symbolic violence.

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