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The representation of poverty and poverty alleviation in the prescribed economics textbooks at a higher education institution: a critical discourse analysis.

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This study has been motivated by the necessity for a more complete understanding of how textbook authors project content knowledge, conveys facts and inspire thoughts and attitudes. The Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) reaffirms the textbook as a critical pedagogical tool in the classroom and a leading resource tool for knowledge transmission. Specifically, the aim of this study is to examine how the representations of poverty and poverty alleviation within prescribed Economics textbooks at a higher education institution are represented. The objective was to uncover the ideological meanings hiding beneath the written words and sentences in the prescribed textbooks that reference poverty and poverty. The study is positioned in a critical paradigm using a qualitative methodology and the principles of critical discourse analysis established by Huckin (1997) as an analytical framework. A purposive sampling approach was used to select two prescribed Economics textbooks for this study. The findings are arranged according to themes that emerged in the course of the study. The themes that emerged are: Rural poverty, Feminization of poverty, Poverty and Race, Poverty and Income Inequality, Disparities within countries and across countries, and Poverty as a valid idea. The findings in this chapter affirm that there are inferred power in the representations and portrayals of poverty and poverty alleviation in Economics textbooks. This research supports the argument that negative connotations or stereotypes are still being used to describe the poor, especially in discourse. The main concern is how poverty and poverty alleviation related knowledge is presented to learners in the classroom. Recommendations are made to encourage future researchers to take cognisance of the words and powers that is being presented in the textbooks and interview authors, teachers, and learners in classrooms to determine their viewpoints on what is written and learned.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.