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The Role of Stereotyping in Public Policy Legitimation: The Case of the pigs Label

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image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

This article aims at deconstructing the “pigs” label, bestowed by the media on four southern European countries – Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece – in the wake of the ongoing Eurozone debt crisis. The article will demonstrate that the “pigs” label has no correspondence to reality by discussing the evolution of several European countries on the fields of economy, education, social policies and health. The “pigs” label should be viewed instead as an instance of symbolic discrimination and as part of an hegemonic narrative aiming at legitimizing austerity policies in Southern Europe and postulating the incompatibility between social development and economic growth.

Affiliations: 1: Centre for Research and Studies in Sociology – University Institute of; 2: Centre for Research and Studies in Sociology – University Institute of; 3: Centre for Research and Studies in Sociology – University Institute of; 4: Centre for Research and Studies in Sociology – University Institute of


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