Poverty Porn : How Journalists, Audiences & Researchers Produce Stigma


Dallas Rogers
Poverty Porn: How Journalists, Audiences And Researchers Produce Stigma

‘Poverty porn’ has recently been used to describe television programs that represent the lives of poor people for entertainment purposes, such as Housos (Aus), Struggle Street (Aus) and Benefit Street (UK).

Poverty porn is a term that emerged out of international development studies. It was initially developed to critique the use of media representations that exploit the lives of poor people in order to generate sympathy and donations. More recently it has been used to talk about television programs in Australia and the UK.

The producers of these ‘Poverty porn’ programs claim that by exposing the hardships of poor people, these programs and films might generate sympathy for these communities. Or alternatively, they claim that they are simply showcasing the reliance and resourcefulness of poor people.

SoundMinds Radio Producer Dallas Rogers talks to Associate Professor Deb Warr about the news stories, research and television programs that portray poverty in post-industrial cities. The polarizing debate about poverty porn – which pits exploiting the poor on one side and empowering the poor on the other – doesn’t capture the complex ways in which narratives about poverty and place are created. Dr Warr discusses the intersections between the three key ways in which narratives about poverty and place are created:

  • Poverty News
  • Poverty Stories
  • Poverty Research

FEATURED

Associate Professor Deb Warr is a VicHealth Research Fellow with the McCaughey Centre, at the University of Melbourne. Her work is primarily aimed at understanding socio-economic contexts for health inequalities in developed nations. Dr Warr has published widely and is recognised internationally for work that includes reports of empirical findings and articles exploring theoretical and methodological issues. She has long-standing commitment and expertise in collaborative, participatory and community based research methods and ensuring that the findings of research are accessible for implementation in policy and practice.

FURTHER INFORMATION

DOWNLOAD Dallas article “Poverty Porn and Housing:How we produce Housing and Neighbourhood Stigma” in Housing Works, published by the Australian Housing Institute.

AUDIO

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