Depicted welfare-recipient stereotypes in Norway and Denmark: a photo-elicitation study

Sofie Dencker-Larsen, Kjetil Lundberg

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Welfare recipients are continuously subjected to media debates and governmental campaigns drawing on images and symbols encouraging improved work ethic and individual responsibility. Only few studies, however, have analysed how welfare recipients as ‘othered’ citizens react to these often stereotypical symbols and images targeting them. In this study we have investigated how welfare recipients in Norway and Denmark, and caseworkers in Denmark, understand and account for images which, through the use of stereotypes, directly or indirectly may question welfare recipients’ work ethic and deservedness. Analysing photo-elicitation interview data, we have uncovered a variety of reactions characterized by ‘problematization’. The interviewees problematize the image and depicted stereotypes, which they link both with motif and symbols and with surrounding public debates on the work ethic and deservedness of welfare recipients. Furthermore, as photo-elicitation is a rarely used tool in welfare research, we address methodological aspects of using photo-elicitation in a study of ‘othered’ welfare recipients
Original languageEnglish
JournalNordic Journal of Social Research
Pages (from-to)1-15
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • stigmatization


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