Representations of social class in the media

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Representation of social class in the media
Under ­ representation of the working class:
Studies of 50 years of comic strips, radio serials, television dramas, movies and
popular fiction reveal a very persistent pattern.
There is an under-representation of the working class occupations and over
representation of professional and managerial occupations among characters.
In the news, working class are shown only as witnesses to crime or sport events,
never as commentators as experts.
Few representations there have been of the working class have consistently tended
to be negative, as the following examples from situation comedies and the news
Situation comedies and social class:
American study from 1946 to 1990 showed working class males were typically
represented as buffoons ­ seen as dumb, immature, irresponsible or lacking in
common sense. Examples include, the Simpsons, Flintstones where the husband
depicts a blue collar white male head of the house.
In contrast, situation comedies featuring the middle class typically do not represent
parents as buffoons.
The news and social class:
The Glasgow Media group have carried out a series of detailed studies of television
The news is not impartial but reflects the interests of powerful groups.
Examples include the Minors strike in 1980s.
Representations of the upper class and wealth:
Neo-Marxists argue that mass media representations of social class tend to
celebrate hierarchy and wealth. Those who benefit from these processes, i.e. the
monarchy, the upper class and the very wealthy, generally receive a positive press as
celebrities who are somehow deserving of their position.
The British mass media hardly ever portray the upper classes in a critical light, nor do
they often draw any serious attention to inequalities in wealth and pay or the
overrepresentation of public-school products in positions of power.
Newman (2006) argues that the media focus very positively on the concerns of the
wealthy and the privileged. He notes that the media over-focuses on consumer
items such as luxury cars, costly holiday spots and fashion accessories that only the
wealthy can afford.
He also notes the enormous amount of print and broadcast media dedicated to daily
business news and stock market quotations, despite the fact that few people in
Britain own stocks and shares.



A good basis summative tools under the topic of media representation of the different social classes. Can definitely be used to revise topic knowledge and to help basic planning of an essay question.

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