Representation of social classes

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  • representation of social class
    • focus on power + hierarchy
    • classes
      • precariat - most deprived
      • traditional working class - more elderly. work long hours + physically demanding. low wealth
      • emergent service workers - young + urban areas. low economic capital but high emerging cultural + social capital
      • tech. middle class - less culturally engaged . high economic capital. small numbers. few social contacts
      • new affluent workers - young + active. medium levels of economic capital. high levels of cultural and social capital
      • established middle class - high levels of all capitals. gregarious + culturally engaged class
      • elite - most privileged. amount of economic capitals sets them apart
      • focus on upper, middle, lower class in exam
    • working classes
      • presented as connected communities with strong identities, who may be financially poor but are socially rich.
      • The Full Monty (1997)
        • focus on the fractious effects of unemployment + how working classes overcome closure of local industries (coal mines/pits, factories, etc) by bringing community back together 
      • TV soap operas like EastEnders and Coronation Street
        • center around close knit neighborhoods with tight social bonds living together as one through their everyday hardships.
      • often presented in the context of trouble, as undesirable scroungers who are unable to cope with the demands of everyday issues (e.g. financial strife, delinquent children, etc).
        • clip of Benefits Street
          • camera hand held when filming kid running - uneasy
            • jump cut before this shot
            • narration - 'not your avarge street' - implies street is just playground
            • represents boy as potential gang member / thief - jumping over walls - getting away
          • chose shot of rubbish on street (whereas most street is clean) - suggesting WC = dirty + should be disregarded in street.
            • framing mirrors people with trash in this shot. people are balanced by the trash on other side
          • hard + harsh lighting - natural lighting leaves image looking washed out (not vibrant). suggests what happens in scene is natural - sense of reality
        • Newman argues there are few tv shows / dramas which focus on the everyday lives of the working classes.
          • argues when in media, WC depicted in very poor light, such as dumb buffoons (e.g. Homer Simpson, Peter Griffin, etc) or immature thugs (e.g. Phil Mitchell from EastEnders, Andrew "Combo" Gascoigne from This Is England)
        • Curran and Seaton suggest newspapers aimed at the WC assume they're uninterested in serious political or social analysis + these tabloid newspapers attempt to distract WC audiences from the inequalities of capitalism.
        • McKendrick asserts that poverty is rarely explored in the media, and when it is, it’s often a sanitized portrayal.
    • upper class
      • typically seen as well-bred, cultured and refined
      • often represented through their accents, large country estates + pursuits beyond those afforded to the broader public such as shooting and hunting.
      • maintain power
      • events portrayed unattainable - alienates viewer - can't relate
      • theorist
        • many believe the mass media representations = celebration of hierarchy + wealth. portrayals of the UC rarely seen in critical light; instead, UC portrayed as eccentric figures, or through the nostalgic tone of costume dramas.
        • theorists suggest media focuses heavily on concerns of wealthy + privileged + are accused of over-representing consumer items, such as luxury cars + costly holidays, that only the wealthy can afford.
    • middle class
      • media tends to focus on portrayal of the MC in terms of UK being a meritocracy where intelligence, talent and hard work will come with reward.
        • Many argue this concept = flawed - tends to be wealth rather than ability that opens up access to good jobs and educational opportunities. 
      • representations of MC life justifies the existing class structure + their inequalities by suggesting that people must = more competent +‘try harder’  to achieve a better life.
      • MC repented with regards to declining moral standards + their pride for British Identity and heritage
      • clip on Moodle for The Great British Bake off
        • old women saying she's been cooking for 60 yeahs - finally has her shot - if you work hard, you can achieve
        • X--factor
          • clip from Outnumbered
            • when kid starts to lose, dad says it's important not to walk off - can still win if try hard enough
      • over-represented - as many of the creative personnel in the media are, themselves, middle class.


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