chapter  3
28 Pages

Mediating urban poverty

From the war on poverty to poverty porn
ByDarrin Hodgetts, Ottilie Stolte

This chapter offers a conceptual account of the mediation of urban poverty, welfare, and health inequalities, which encompasses the cultivation of harmful caricatures of the precariat. It considers research into portrayals of welfare and associated reforms that have spread from the US to other OECD countries. This leads to an account of the rise of 'poverty porn' or stigmatizing depictions of people living in poverty that are constructed for the voyeuristic gratification of more affluent audiences. The chapter considers individualizing representational trends in health coverage that downplay the consequences of social determinants of health. Numerous corporatized media outlets provide audiences with access to shared experiences, through which understandings of urban poverty, welfare, and health inequalities are constructed, causes are assigned, and responses are [de]legitimized. Such corporatized media offer the illusion that they represent mainstream views in society in an unproblematic way.