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Child poverty and government policy: the contesting of symbolic power in newspaper constructions of families in need

Abstract
News media play a central role in processes of symbolic power through which social issues are defined and solutions legitimized. This paper explores the role of newspaper coverage in the public construction of the New Zealand Government's Working for Families package designed to address child poverty. This package was criticized publicly by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) for targeting financial support to working families and neglecting families who derive their income from state benefits. We document the resulting news controversy through analyses of press releases from Government and CPAG, the accounts of journalists and representatives of CPAG, news reports and four focus group discussions with beneficiary parents. We propose that psychologists engage more fully with processes of symbolic power currently shaping public constructions of poverty and policy responses.
Type
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Series
Citation
Barnett, A., Hodgetts, D., Nikora, L. W. & Chamberlain, K. (2007). Child poverty and government policy: the contesting of symbolic power in newspaper constructions of families in need. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 17(4), 296-312.
Date
2007
Publisher
John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Degree
Supervisors
Rights
This article is published in the Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology