Adding to the shame of poverty: the public, politicians and the media

Issue 148 (Summer 2014)

The denigration of people in poverty is not new. It has been evident since at least the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII when the Tudor state assumed de facto responsibility for the care of ‘paupers’, and the terms ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ were coined. The words used have changed and the vehemence of the language has ebbed and flowed, but the divisive, self-justifying distinction between the workless, rogues, idlers and scroungers on the one hand and the hardworking, law-abiding, responsible, ‘middle class’, taxpayer has not. Robert Walker and Elaine Chase draw on their recent research to highlight how recent welfare reforms continue our long tradition of shaming people who live in poverty.

More from Poverty 148 (Summer 2014)