‘I don’t think there is any moral basis for taking money away from people’: Using Discursive Psychology to explore the complexity of talk about tax

Philippa Carr, Simon Goodman, Adam Jowett

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Abstract

The increasing recognition of the negative impact of income inequality has highlighted the importance of taxation which can function as a redistributive mechanism. Previous critical social psychological research found that talk about restricting the welfare state, that is funded through tax, is formed of ideology that supports the maintenance of income inequality. Therefore, this research explores how speakers use talk about tax to justify income inequality during a UK BBC radio discussion, ‘Moral Maze: The moral purpose of tax’ which involved public figures discussing the role of tax. This programme was analysed from a critical discursive psychological perspective. It was found that two contrasting constructions of tax were presented: tax as a collective responsibility or tax as an individual burden, whereby speakers drew on social justice and individualistic ideology respectively. Arguments for high tax rates are problematic due to the acceptability of inequality in a meritocracy. By presenting wealthy individuals as more deserving than the less affluent, arguments for higher tax come to be challenged.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-95
Number of pages12
JournalCritical Discourse Studies
Volume16
Issue number1
Early online date16 Aug 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Critical Discourse Studies on 16/08/2018 available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/17405904.2018.1511440

Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders

Keywords

  • discursive psychology
  • ideology
  • income inequality
  • just world
  • meritocracy
  • Taxation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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