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The Return of Ordinary CapitalismNeoliberalism, Precarity, Occupy$
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Sanford F. Schram

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190253011

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190253011.001.0001

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The Deep Semiotic Structure of Deservingness

The Deep Semiotic Structure of Deservingness

Discourse and Identity in Neoliberal Welfare Policy

Chapter:
(p.81) 4 The Deep Semiotic Structure of Deservingness
Source:
The Return of Ordinary Capitalism
Author(s):

Sanford F. Schram

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190253011.003.0004

This chapter uses semiotics to suggest that combating the prevailing biases of the neoliberalized welfare state must of necessity confront how those biases are built on a deeply sedimented foundation of distinctions regarding who is to be privileged in the political economy. The chapter highlights how discourse implies identity and identities regarding who is deserving and ought to be supported, reflecting age-old distinctions that are not easily dislodged by even mass political mobilizations. The chapter concludes with consideration of how neoliberalization represents an updating that reinforces these biases and how combating neoliberalism involves attention to its historical lineages.

Keywords:   welfare, neoliberalism, deserving versus undeserving, discourse, semiotics

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