Can the poor exercise deliberative agency in a multimedia saturated society? Lessons from Brazil and Lebanon

Nardine Alnemr, Thais Choucair, Nicole Curato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

There are many ways of amplifying the voices of the poor in today’s multimedia saturated societies. In this article, we argue that the dominant portrayals of poverty in the media privilege voices that exclude the poor from authentic and consequential deliberations that affect their lives. We make a case for amplifying the poor’s deliberative agency – the performance of political justification in the public sphere – when creating media content. Through two illustrative examples, we demonstrate that amplifying the poor’s deliberative agency is both normatively desirable and politically possible. We begin with the case of Brazil where we discuss how slow journalism drew attention to the diversity of the poor’s political claims about a mining disaster, followed by the case of citizen journalism in Lebanon where a protest movement shifted the dominant arguments about the garbage crisis from an issue of the dirty poor to an issue of the corrupt elite. Through these examples, this article makes a normative case for portraying poor communities as democratic agents who are bearers of ideas, reasons, justifications, and aspirations. We argue that this portrayal is essential for promoting virtues of deliberative democracy – inclusiveness, pluralistic reason-giving, and reflexivity – that are very much needed in contemporary times.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1802206
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalPolitical Research Exchange
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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