Protesting Poverty: Mediated Global Protest and Images of Poverty

This position supports a research project concerning the representation of poverty in Western consumer society. Despite worldwide news attention reporting on the growing social unrest and protests facilitated by the unequal distribution of wealth and resources in countries such as Canada, the United States, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Italy, Bulgaria, Turkey, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Iceland, Russia, Mexico and India, media attention consistently overlooks the intrinsic socioeconomic and political issues embedded in the issue of Western poverty in favour of focusing on the extreme conditions plaguing those of the peripheral countries. Through a content and critical discourse analysis of news reports, this project will critique the mediation of poverty and its place in Western cultural politics. The analysis of the news reports will be enriched through a visual deconstruction of representations of poverty in other media, with a particular focus on specific advertising campaigns, film, television, and music examples, both historical and present. In critiquing the visualization of poverty in popular culture and its construction in the news media, the issue will be connected back to the broader context of political economy and cultural studies, employing marketing techniques in addition to the larger theoretical background. The project also considers the influence of social media and other networking technologies.

Faculty Supervisor:

Anne MacLennan





Journalism / Media studies and communication



York University



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