Doctoral student Lori Young has received the President Gutmann Leadership Award, a university-wide grant supporting international conference travel administered by the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly. The award is for a paper Young will present at this year’s International Communication Association Conference in Puerto Rico.
Title: Dialogic Exclusion of Low-Income Citizens from Poverty Discourse
Abstract: Speaking, and being spoken to, afford a great deal of discursive power. Those excluded, either as speakers or audiences, are prevented from engaging in, and shaping the dialogic exchange. This study considers Bakhtin’s notion of dialogism in the context of poverty discourse. Dialogic frame analysis is employed to assess the exclusion of people living in poverty from political news about poverty during the “Common Sense Revolution” in Ontario, Canada in the 1990s. Results point to a systematic relationship between the dialogic structure of news and the nature and tone of mainstream poverty discourse. Even when coverage is sympathetic to low-income citizens and critical of government policies, exclusive text tends to reproduce stigmatizing language and retain a negative thematic and emotional focus. Thus, the tenor of poverty news is not simply a function of ideology or partisanship. Giving voice to – or simply addressing – people with lived experience of poverty may fundamentally shape the nature of poverty discourse.