Exercise 3.3 (p.66): Marginalization


Write a reflection in your learning log about some of the ways in which marginalised or under-represented people or groups could be badly or unhelpfully portrayed. How might being an insider help combat this?

Media plays a significant role in shaping the way we understand and see the world around us.  Common stereotypes about religions, homeless, race, people with disabilities, unemployed people, gender, old age etc. may not reflect reality.  These stereotypes affect these groups and thus gives more power and privileges to certain groups than others.

Political philosopher Iris Marion Young defines marginalization in her study of justice:  “Marginals are people this system of labour cannot or will not use”.  As a result, marginalized  people or group get excluded from society’s major activities and lack full respect in society. For example unemployed people are at risk of being por and also lack respect of their communities. Under-represented people may feel isolated and may have had fewer opportunities to pursue educational and professional goals.

As an insider understanding and focusing on the specific needs of individuals in the relation to the different aspects of inequality they experience helps recognize the factors the inequality derives from such as age, geographical location, disability, ethnicity etc.  Negative attitude towards a specific group causes discrimination which result in denying access for those specific groups to resources and services thus they are hinder from opportunities for their own personal development.

We have to be positive role models and understand and respect those groups so they themselves won’t suffer from low self-esteem and confidence.  We have to understand the reasons and factors that made them become who they are.  Respect them and help when needed.

A  research showed that problems faced by person with disability is not their impairment but the poverty, exclusion and marginalisation which is often caused by stigma and prejudice about disability (Groce, 2011).

I as a photographer should consider the ethical sides when planning to photograph marginalized groups.  I should consider the motives behind creating the image and preserve the subject’s dignity.  The story I should aim for should honor the subject’s circumstances and give hope and faith but not in anyway degrade or dishonor those people  and rob their dignity.

Bibliography / References:

Cain Emma, Steff Marion, Wortmann Marc, Beatles Sylvia, Cordier Sylvie (2012). Voices of the Marginalized: Persons with Disabilities, Older People, People with Mental Health Issues [online]. Global Thematic Consultation. Available from: http://www.addc.org.au/documents/resources/voices-of-the-marginalized-persons-with-disabilities-older-people-people-with-mental-health-issues_927.pdf [Accessed 4 December, 2016].

Jenson Jane (2000).  Thinking about Marginalization: What, Who and Why? [online].  Canadian Policy Research Networks Inc. (CPRN).  Available from:  http://cprn3.library.carleton.ca/documents/15746_en.pdf  [Accessed 4 December, 2016]

The Critical Media Project. Race & Ethnicity [online]. Available from:  http://www.criticalmediaproject.org/cml/topicbackground/race-ethnicity/  [Accessed 4 December, 2016].


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