Poverty, Language and Media (POLAME)

Project Objective

The research carried out by the POLAME-Project contributes to increasing our knowledge of how media use language to construct and convey the complex phenomenon of poverty in society. The project studies the cases of the leading newspapers in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.

Main content

The project starts out from the premise that major, "agenda-setting media", in this case the most important  newspapers in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico affect public opinion about what poverty is, and how it is conveyed and faught against.

The four countries have large populations, widespread poverty, and prominent positions in the politics and economy of Latin America, a continent characterized by the most conspicuous social inequality we can observe in the world today. In addition, the four countries have influential newspapers that contribute significantly to shaping the political agenda.

Using modern linguistic technologies, the project has automatically compiled thousands of articles referring to poverty, published in the newspapers in this study (The Polame-Corpus). This corpus consists of many millions of words and it is being analyzed by the multidisciplinary project team in order to identify the notions of poverty that are expressed through language, directly or indirectly. The analyses consider historical, cultural, and institutional factors, relevant theories of poverty and of discourse, in addition to the social practices related to the phenomenon of poverty.