Social Class Representations

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  • Representations of Social Class
    • Neo Marxist perpective
      • argue mass media representations of social class rarely focus on social tensions or class conflict
        • function of the media is to ensure cultural hegemony of the dominant capitalist class
      • Nairn
        • mass media rarely criticise the monarchy
          • since WW1 they have reinvented themselves as the 'royal family'
            • like soap operas, media views royal events as national events important for the whole country
          • celebrate the monarchy and forgive their misdeeds
      • little attention is drawn to inequalities in wealth or the overrepresentation of ex public school pupils in power
      • upper classes are presented in a rosy and idolised way
      • Altman
        • proportion of news pages focusing on celebrities and entertainment had doubled from 1980-003
          • national affairs coverage had dropped by 10% over the same period
      • Newman
        • tabloids focus on lavish lifestyles of the wealthy
    • Marxists
      • Cohen and Young
        • British culture is a monetary culture categorised by a 'chaos or reward'
          • top businessmen rewarded for failure, celebs rewarded for their 'talent' - not necessarily hard work
    • Postmodernists
      • we are obsessed you wealth NOT class
        • class is therefore no longer significant to contemporary society
    • Pluralists
      • argue representations of the wealthy are justifiable for 3 reasons...
        • UK is meritocratic and we should celebrate success
        • such stories may motivate others to work harder (boost the economy)
        • focus on finance further reflects the importance of these sectors to out economy
    • Representations of the middle classes
      • mc interests are often overrepresented - role models for good behaviour
      • substantial % of newspapers are targeted at a mc audience and their interests
      • daily mail assume the mc are worried about the decline of moral standards
        • present values as opposed to factors such as immigrants? benefits claimants
      • most media officials are mc - those who's expert opinions are sought are also mc
    • Representations of the working classes
      • often presented as a problem e.g. the miners strike
        • representations tend to focus in the criminal/deviant acts that the WC may commit
          • e.g. blue collar crime, benefits fraud, rather than an everyday example of WC experience
      • Newman
        • few TV shows on WC lives in recent years
      • Pluralists might argue that other representations may be more sympathetic -
        • TV soaps resent issues in a sensitive and supportive way
      • Curran and Seaton
        • Newspapers targeted at WC audiences assume they arrant interested in politics or other serious matters
          • only focus on celeb gossip and lifestyles
            • marxists see this as an attempt to distract the WC from the inequalities of capitalism
    • 'CHAVS'
      • owen jones
        • the media use this term to demonise the working class
      • Schildrick and MacDonald
        • media use this to imply poverty is the fault of the poor
      • Webster
        • promoted as sucm, eroding public sympathy

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