The rise of anti-immigrant racism over the past two decades has taken place through multiple mechanisms and processes, including the resurgence of welfare racism, which has been re-functionalized towards refugees and asylum seekers. As a key weapon of today’s sovereignism and white supremacism, the “return” of welfare racism is intrinsic to the rise of neo-liberal racism and is an integral part of a global process of erosion of social rights, weakening of social citizenship, and dismantling of the welfare state. Welfare racism—a combination of racial discrimination in the welfare system and racialized welfare discourse—operates through discriminatory laws and measures related to social benefits and through public discourses depicting refugees, immigrants, and people of color as parasites and scroungers sponging off the welfare state. The resurgence of welfare racism in the last decade has seen the specific spread of welfare racism against refugees and asylum seekers as part of the dual war on asylum and on the welfare state. This article examines the ideological-discursive dimension of welfare racism (that is, the public discourses, rhetoric, and images), first analyzing the development, dimensions, and characteristics of racialized welfare discourse more generally, then focusing on racialized welfare discourses about refugees and asylum seekers in contemporary Italy. It explores the arguments and conceptual metaphors of the racialized welfare discourse on asylum seekers, revealing the devices and dynamics at play in the construction of the refugee as a “scrounger” and welfare abuser. Furthermore, it highlights the consequences of racialized welfare discourse on public policies (particularly on social policies and welfare controls), on migration policies (particularly on immigration controls and internal controls), and on the relationship between citizens and migrants, receiving societies, and newcomers.

The Racialized Welfare Discourse on Refugees and Asylum Seekers: The Example of “Scroungers” in Italy

Perocco Fabio
;
Della Puppa Francesco
2023-01-01

Abstract

The rise of anti-immigrant racism over the past two decades has taken place through multiple mechanisms and processes, including the resurgence of welfare racism, which has been re-functionalized towards refugees and asylum seekers. As a key weapon of today’s sovereignism and white supremacism, the “return” of welfare racism is intrinsic to the rise of neo-liberal racism and is an integral part of a global process of erosion of social rights, weakening of social citizenship, and dismantling of the welfare state. Welfare racism—a combination of racial discrimination in the welfare system and racialized welfare discourse—operates through discriminatory laws and measures related to social benefits and through public discourses depicting refugees, immigrants, and people of color as parasites and scroungers sponging off the welfare state. The resurgence of welfare racism in the last decade has seen the specific spread of welfare racism against refugees and asylum seekers as part of the dual war on asylum and on the welfare state. This article examines the ideological-discursive dimension of welfare racism (that is, the public discourses, rhetoric, and images), first analyzing the development, dimensions, and characteristics of racialized welfare discourse more generally, then focusing on racialized welfare discourses about refugees and asylum seekers in contemporary Italy. It explores the arguments and conceptual metaphors of the racialized welfare discourse on asylum seekers, revealing the devices and dynamics at play in the construction of the refugee as a “scrounger” and welfare abuser. Furthermore, it highlights the consequences of racialized welfare discourse on public policies (particularly on social policies and welfare controls), on migration policies (particularly on immigration controls and internal controls), and on the relationship between citizens and migrants, receiving societies, and newcomers.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/5012303
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