Dr Aspa Baroutsis1
1Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia
Locations of high poverty are often publicly constituted as being 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 impacted by poverty. Drawing on metaphors of area, orientation, and movement, examples will be presented from online newspapers. These data will problematise the homogeneous representations of educational attainment in locations of poverty through metaphors of 1) area space relates to boundaries, inclusions and exclusions through a demarcation and division of educational attainment; 2) orientation space refers to a progression or change within educational performance informed by directional attributes such as up or down, top or bottom; 3) movement space focuses on comparisons of educational attainment through mechanisms such as hierarchies, elevation, distance, and targets. These spatial metaphors in media texts focus on competitive, rather than cooperative institutional practices, and potentially normalise location-based poor attainment that amplifies 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; education policy and mediatisation; teachers’ work and identity; learning spaces; and children’s voice and agency. She can be contacted at email@example.com or Twitter @aspa25.