Resource Database: Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Title Representation of the 'Third World'
Originator Margaret E. Harrison
Department School of Environment, Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education, Francis Close Hall, Swindon Rd., Cheltenham, Glos., GL50 4AZ
Tel. +44 (0)1242-532978
Fax. +44 (0)1242-543273

Many students are eager to study distant 'others' of the developing world. However, as a teacher and researcher of the developing world I have often been saddened by students who see their world as superior to the developing world. As a sense of superiority may blinker a student's ability to truly understand the developing world. Therefore, the practical described here was designed to:

a) introduce students to the concepts of identity and positionality. Both concepts are crucial to any analysis of the 'Third World'. When students have an appreciation of their own identity and positionality they are better able to comprehend the representation of the 'Third World' by the Advanced World; and

b) give students the opportunity to participate, via an interactive, interpretative exercise based on non-conventional sources of images of the 'Third World', the power of the creators and purveyors of images of the Third World.

Given these two objectives a workbook was produced which allowed students to develop their skills and ability to decode visual representations, and to synthesise and identity messages with non-standard text. Prior to receiving the workbook, the students receive a formal lecture on the media, information delivery and control. Students work both independently and in groups while carrying out the various tasks in the workbook. The workbook allows students to work at their own pace (yet they should accomplish all tasks by the following week) and without staff assistance. Tasks within the workbook encourage students to recognise their own identity and positionality without being criticised by staff or peers. The size of the workbook may cause the less dedicated student to rush the work and fail to reflect on the exercise. The shelf life of the workbook is limited; visual and journalistic material needs to be up-to-date to hold student attention. The costs of reproduction of the workbook for large class sizes can be problematic.

Relevant Reference:


Developing World
Group work
Independent work
Third World

This is one of the case studies which appears in the GDN Guide "Practicals and Laboratory Work in Geography"

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