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Poverty and ShameGlobal Experiences$
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Elaine Chase and Grace Bantebya-Kyomuhendo

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199686728

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199686728.001.0001

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Society and Shaming

Society and Shaming

General Public and Media Perceptions of Poverty in Urban China

Chapter:
(p.243) 19 Society and Shaming
Source:
Poverty and Shame
Author(s):

Ming Yan

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199686728.003.0019

Drawing on findings from focus group discussions with people considered relatively wealthy, alongside an analysis of media coverage of poverty-related issues in national newspapers, this chapter examines poverty and shame from the perspectives of the relatively wealthy in urban China. It reveals that while the media coverage places more emphasis on the structural causes of poverty, participants tended to place as much weight on individual efforts as they did on such structural explanations. The latter drew a much clearer distinction between those deemed ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’, based on people’s ability and willingness to work, as well as on other moral judgements about their behaviour and priorities. Importantly, while the media was viewed as an important channel for disseminating information about policy implementation and social assistance programmes, it was widely perceived by group participants as a vehicle for state propaganda and therefore not a credible or objective reflector of reality.

Keywords:   China, poverty, shaming, media, general public, deserving–undeserving, structural causes, individual causes

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