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Speaking with: Deb Warr on “poverty porn”

Speaking with: Deb Warr on “poverty porn”

In May 2015 the mayor of the City of Blacktown, Stephen Bali, denounced the SBS documentary series Struggle Street – produced in the Blacktown suburb of Mount Druitt – labelling it as “public funded poverty porn” and staging a creative protest which saw a dozen garbage trucks blockade the broadcaster’s head offices. The second series of Struggle Street will be filmed in Queensland and Victoria in 2016, and there has already been significant backlash to the announced plans.

While poverty porn is a term used to describe media that appears to exploit impoverished communities and individuals for entertainment, supporters of shows such as Struggle Street argue that the genre can generate sympathy, engagement and ultimately have a positive effect on the community.

Dallas Rogers spoke with Deb Warr, Associate Professor from the McCaughey Centre for Community Wellbeing at the University of Melbourne, about the role the media plays in creating narratives around poverty and the importance of varied methods of engagement with impoverished communities.


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