English, Media and Creative Cultures Research Seminar Series

Inequality, Culture and Difference. Benefits Street: Talking about Poverty Porn

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As part of the School of Arts and Humanities, English, Media and Creative Cultures Research Seminar Series, Dr Laura L Paterson, The Open University, presents: "Inequality, Culture and Difference. Benefits Street: Talking about Poverty Porn."

  • From: Wednesday 17 May 2017, 1 pm
  • To: Wednesday 17 May 2017, 2 pm
  • Location: 210, Ada Byron King building, Nottingham Trent University, Clifton Campus, Clifton Lane, Nottingham, NG11 8NS

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Event details

As part of the School of Arts and Humanities, English, Media and Creative Cultures  Research Seminar Series, Dr Laura L Paterson, The Open University, presents: 'Inequality, Culture and Difference. Benefits Street: Talking about Poverty Porn.'

In 2014 Channel 4 aired the first episode of Benefits Street, a docutainment television programme which followed the lives of (unemployed) benefits recipients in Birmingham and Stockton-on-Tees. The controversial programme was accused of being ‘poverty porn’ as it reduced the daily experiences of benefits recipients to mass media entertainment. There were over 2,000 UK national newspaper articles written about Benefits Street in the first six months of 2014 and the programme generated 950 public complaints to the regulatory watchdog Ofcom.

This paper concludes a research project analysing the language surrounding Benefits Street and debates about benefits recipients more widely. It draws on data from public focus groups and twitter to provide an overview of how benefits recipients and social class are discussed in 21st Century Britain.

Using a combination of Critical Discourse Analysis and techniques from corpus linguistics it interrogates how members of the public reacted to Benefits Street and how discussions of government benefits were negotiated both face-to-face and online. The paper explores the discourses that people draw upon when talking about benefits and establishes the role of indexicality in evaluative debates about social class.

For any enquiries, please contact the College of Art, Architecture, Design and Humanities Research Office by email or by telephone on +44 (0)115 848 2301.

Location details

Room/Building:

210, Ada Byron King building

Address:

Nottingham Trent University
Clifton Campus
Clifton Lane
Nottingham
NG11 8NS

Past event

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