Dr Aspa Baroutsis1
1Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia
Locations of high poverty are often publicly constituted as being solely educationally deficit, with location-based successes being identified as exceptional variances. This is particularly the case in the public domain through online visual and textual representations that contribute to institutionalised understandings of poverty. Using the National Assessment Program: Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) test as a starting point for the public representations of educational attainment, this paper draws on spatial metaphors to analyse these textual and visual portrayals of one Queensland location of high poverty. Drawing on metaphors of area, movement, hierarchy, and structural space (Paechter, 2004), examples will be presented from various sources including the MySchool website, online newspapers, city council data, and Google maps. These data will problematise the homogeneous representations of educational attainment in locations of poverty through metaphors of 1) area space that focus on drawing boundaries, inclusions and exclusions; 2) movement space that refer to a progression or change within educational attainment; 3) hierarchical space that focus on comparisons of educational attainment; and 4) structural space that incorporate the personal, social, economic or political elements. Such metaphors potentially normalise location-based poor attainment and potentially amplify inequality.
Aspa Baroutsis is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Griffith Institute for Educational Research, Griffith University, Australia. Her research interests include social justice and education; the mediatisation of education; teachers’ work and identity; learning spaces; and children’s voice and agency. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @aspa25.