December 7: Understandings of Poverty Discussion

Echoes of Poverty: Understanding Poverty through Narrative Retelling

Presenter: Elaine Laberge
December 7, 2016
7:00 – 8:30pm
Strathcona Branch
Program Room
8331 – 104 Street
FREE event open to everyone

The truth about stories is that that’s all we are. Thomas King

Poverty is normally defined in terms of economics. Although this definition is familiar, it fails to capture the unique biographies of lives. Often, our understandings of poverty and how we subsequently story people are damaging. Lives become reduced to single stories that support the myths of the classless society and the American Dream. This results in poverty being seen as an individual failing without considering structural reasons for systemic poverty.  In this session, we will discuss how narrative can shifts negative understandings of poverty to more empathetic and subjective understandings.

Elaine Laberge is a master’s student in sociology at the University of Alberta. Her research, The Reverberations of Poverty: Composing Lives in Higher Education, focuses on university undergraduate students whose lives are shaped by childhood poverty in order to narratively understand their unique, individual challenges and experiences in relation to larger social, institutional, and cultural narratives. The goal of this research is to effect changes in policies and programs that will improve the success of students from poverty; and to contribute to understanding the experiences of being Othered and what growing up in poverty means for students in higher education beyond the statistics, fairy tales, and neoliberal stories.

 

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