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‘Keeping meself to meself’ – How Social Networks Can Influence Narratives of Stigma and Identity for Long-term Sickness Benefits Recipients

Garthwaite, K.A.

‘Keeping meself to meself’ – How Social Networks Can Influence Narratives of Stigma and Identity for Long-term Sickness Benefits Recipients Thumbnail


Authors

K.A. Garthwaite



Abstract

This article focuses upon social networks and their relationship to stigma and identity for long-term sickness benefits recipients in the North East of England. Drawing on empirical qualitative research with long-term sickness benefits recipients, this article demonstrates how the co-construction of stigma is fundamental in shaping how long-term sickness benefits recipients participate in social networks with friends, family and the community. The findings support the idea that the stigma of receiving benefits can be contrasted with nostalgia for the social elements of employment. Utilizing the work of Goffman, the article focuses on how the stigma and shame felt at receiving sickness benefits for an extended period of time interacts with social networks and identity. Reluctance to disclose a claimant identity to friends and family could lead to social isolation and a perceived need to ‘keep meself to meself’ which can be linked to a wider rhetoric surrounding benefits recipients that characterizes them as ‘scroungers’.

Citation

Garthwaite, K. (2015). ‘Keeping meself to meself’ – How Social Networks Can Influence Narratives of Stigma and Identity for Long-term Sickness Benefits Recipients. Social Policy and Administration, 49(2), 199-212. https://doi.org/10.1111/spol.12119

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 12, 2015
Publication Date Mar 12, 2015
Deposit Date Mar 18, 2015
Publicly Available Date Mar 12, 2017
Journal Social Policy and Administration
Print ISSN 0144-5596
Electronic ISSN 1467-9515
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 49
Issue 2
Pages 199-212
DOI https://doi.org/10.1111/spol.12119
Keywords Social networks, Sickness benefits, Stigma, Identity, Neighbourhood, Scrounger

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Copyright Statement
This is the accepted version of the following article: Garthwaite, K.A. (2015) '‘Keeping meself to meself’ – How social networks can influence narratives of stigma and identity for long-term sickness benefits recipients.', Social policy and administration., 49 (2). pp. 199-212, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/spol.12119. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.





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