Welfare Policies and media Coverage


Welfare Policies and media Coverage: analysing Linkages between Citizens and Politics in Comparative Perspective 

Promotrices: Virginie Van Ingelgom, Claire Dupuy 
Chercheur:  Damien Pennetreau 

Starting from the difficulties faced by the European integration project, this research investigates one of the underlying mechanisms of EU’s current legitimacy crisis: welfare retrenchment. Historically, policies have been used by political elites as a tool of legitimation. States have relied on the promotion of social policies and subsequent development of welfare states to establish their legitimacy. Thus, it makes sense to investigate the overlooked policy feedback effect. The core argument of the policy feedback theory is that policies’ outcomes reshape the subsequent policy process. In the meantime scholars underline that citizens’ relationship with politics is changing. The literature related to democratic linkages illustrates that citizens engage in politics differently than in the past. It also tries to understand what the new patterns of citizens’ involvement are. It then is appropriate to assess the policy feedback effect in the light of citizens’ democratic linkages. Still, the role of the media has to be taken into account. These latter highlight policies’ success or failures. In doing so, they provide the necessary information to evaluate the action of the incumbent governments. They also provide lenses that may influence citizens’ judgement. This explains the relevance of integrating media in the analysis. This research answers to the following academic question: how do welfare retrenchments in labour and health policies and the media coverage in that regard influence citizens’ relationship with their political system? Relying on mixed-methods the cases (Belgium, France, and the UK) are analysed in longitudinal perspective. The used qualitative data are taken from existing research and reappraised while the quantitative data are produced through media content analysis and interpreted.