Beyond the script: on the inclusion of film within a discursive analysis and the immaculate construction of Daniel Blake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Modern UK welfare reforms, such as employment and support allowance (ESA), aim to provide financial support to individuals unable to work due to disability or chronic health conditions. As part of a media framing analysis, which explores the ways in which these welfare reforms have been reported by the UK press, Ken Loach’s 2016 film I, Daniel Blake was identified by the research team as an important discursive resource. Through a novel multimodal discourse analysis (which contains ‘spoilers’ for the film), we examine the ‘immaculate construction’ of fictional ESA claimant Daniel Blake and consider the implications for ‘real life’ ESA claimants. We suggest that, whilst presenting a compassionate narrative which highlights the dehumanisation experienced by ESA claimants, the film raises questions that may further problematise notions of who (and who is not) able to be considered as ‘genuinely’ deserving of welfare.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-23
Number of pages10
JournalQMiP Bulletin
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2019


Bibliographical note

© Copyright 2019 The British Psychological Society


  • benefits
  • welfare
  • discourse analysis
  • film

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