LSA 2021: Trudie Walters and Ismail Shaheer

Our second LSA 2021 preview comes from Trudie Walters and Ismail Shaheer with the video available below.

Discrimination and marginalisation have a significant and often far-reaching impact on the well-being of individuals and communities. People may be marginalised and discriminated against for a variety of reasons including disability, race or ethnicity, sexuality, religious beliefs, age or (low) socio-economic status, and the intersectional nature of these factors compounds the effect.

The role the media plays is significant for it both reflects and influences society: it tells stories and portrays images about who ‘we’ are to others. This is especially important for marginalised groups, who are often silenced, ignored, or (more frequently) represented as the ‘other’ and in such a way as to perpetuate negative stereotypes and discrimination. These media constructions play a pivotal role in informing the public about things that they do not have personal knowledge or experience of (such as marginalised people), and thus the media has the power to focus public interest and shape public debate.

Researchers have argued that event media narratives that counter negative stereotypes and re-centre those at the margins can not only transform individuals but can also transform society. However, little work has been done in this area. The research presented here examines the media narratives around seven events in, by or for marginalised groups (ethnic minorities, rural women, disabled people and seniors) in New Zealand. Our aim was to identify how such events were represented, and in so doing investigate both their potential influence on the well-being of such individuals and communities, and their potential to effect social change.

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