Race, Ethnicity and Welfare States

Race, Ethnicity and Welfare States

An American Dilemma?

Globalization and Welfare series

Edited by Pauli Kettunen, Sonya Michel and Klaus Petersen

In this interdisciplinary volume, leading and emerging scholars examine the relationship between homogeneity and welfare state development. They trace Gunnar Myrdal’s influence on thinking about race in the US and explore current European states’ approaches to the strangers in their midst, and what social citizenship looks like from a global perspective.

Chapter 9: Discourses on Muslims and welfare across the Atlantic

Abdulkader H. Sinno, Eren Tatari, Scott Williamson, Antje Schwennicke and Hicham Bou Nassif

Subjects: politics and public policy, migration, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, migration, welfare states


Discourses linking Muslims and social services are complex and differ across Western countries. This chapter presents a first effort to untangle these discourses by categorizing the frames used to address the topic in newspaper and tabloid articles in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. We analyse qualitatively the contents of a sample of articles from a large comprehensive compilation from US, British and Canadian newspapers from 2000–10. We also consider the political platforms of certain populist parties in Europe, the pronouncements of politicians and the writing and websites of American anti-Muslim activists. We organize this information based on the various frames used in the discourses on Muslims and welfare and then provide tentative explanations for the variation in the use of frame-based discourses across countries and outlets, within countries and over time. We conclude by evaluating the future political and economic impacts of the current discourses on Muslims and welfare.

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