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History Professor to debate attitudes to the benefits system on BBC Radio 3

Posted on 22/02/2012

Professor Justin Champion will be discussing the relationship between the seventeenth century and contemporary attitudes to the undeserving poor on a BBC Radio 3 programme this Sunday.

The Poor Wore Yellow Stars is a special 45 minute Sunday feature looking at the early seventeenth century puritan regimes that took over Dorchester, Exeter and Boston and howthese 'most godly towns' still inform out thinking about poverty and morality.

Professor Champion said: “Essentially the programme suggeststhat modern politicians (both left and right) have not escaped the theological underpinnings of attitudes to the poor, which somehow blames them for their own situation and expects moral reform in exchange for benefits.”

The programme recounts the stories of puritan reformers in the towns of Boston Lincs, Dorchester and Exeter and looks at how these relate to today’s society.

Professor Champion added: “The title is from the 1697statute that allowed the ‘badging’ of those who received welfare, a shaming experience which marked them out in their local community – a bit like making workfare people wear high visibility jackets!”.

Professor Champion will be on BBC Radio 3 feature The Poor Wore Yellow Stars at 7.45pm on Sunday 26 February.

To listen to the programme after it has broadcast, please visit the BBC Radio 3 website


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