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The politics and policies of welfare chauvinism under the economic crisis

Suvi Keskinen, Ov Cristian Norocel, Martin Bak Jørgensen, (2016), «The politics and policies of welfare chauvinism under the economic crisis», Critical Social Policy, August

The ongoing economic crisis that emerged in the wake of the global recession in 2008, and was followed by the more recent crisis of the Eurozone, has introduced new themes and remoulded old ways of approaching the welfare state, immigration, national belonging and racism in Northern Europe. This article identifies two main ways of understanding welfare chauvinism: 1) as a broad concept that covers all sorts of claims and policies to reserve welfare benefits for the ‘native’ population; 2) an ethno-nationalist and racialising political agenda, characteristic especially of right-wing populist parties. Focusing on the relationship between politics and policies, we examine how welfare chauvinist political agendas are turned into policies and what hinders welfare chauvinist claims from becoming policy matters and welfare practices. It is argued that welfare chauvinism targeting migrants is part of a broader neoliberal restructuring of the welfare state and of welfare retrenchment.

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