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Scroungers: Moral Panics and Media Myths
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Scroungers: Moral Panics and Media Myths (Hardback)

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Scroungers, spongers, parasites ...

These are just are some of the

terms that are typically used, with increasing frequency, to describe the most

vulnerable in our society, whether they be the sick, the disabled, or the

unemployed. Long a popular scapegoat for all manner of social ills, under

austerity we've seen hostility towards benefit claimants reach new levels of

hysteria, with the `undeserving poor' blamed for everything from crime to even

rising levels of child abuse.

While the tabloid press has

played its role in fuelling this hysteria, the proliferation of social media

has added a disturbing new dimension to this process, spreading and reinforcing

scare stories, while normalising the perception of poverty as a form of

`deviancy' that runs contrary to the neoliberal agenda. Provocative and illuminating,

Scroungers explores and analyses the

ways in which the poor are portrayed both in print and online, placing these

attitudes in a wider breakdown of social trust and community cohesion.

James Morrison is a reader in journalism at Robert Gordon University, as well as a senior examiner for the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ). Before entering academia he spent over a decade as a staff reporter for newspapers including the Independent on Sunday as well as working as a freelance writer for publications including the Guardian. His previous books include Familiar Strangers, Juvenile Panic and the British Press: The Decline of Social Trust (2016), Journalism: The Essentials of Writing and Reporting (2015) and Essential Public Affairs for Journalists (2009).

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