Social class representation

  • Created by: Shadow
  • Created on: 16-11-20 11:11
  • Social Class

Mass media representations of social classes rarely focus on the social tensions or class conflict that some critical sociologists see as underpinning society.

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.

Representations of the Middle Classes

Four broad sociological observations can be made with regard to mass media representations of the middle classes.

  • The middle class are over-represented on TV dramas and situation comedies.
  • Part of the British newspaper market is specifically aimed at the middle classes and their
    consumption, tastes and interests, e.g. the Daily Mail.
  • The content of newspapers such as the Daily Mail suggests that journalists believe that the middle classes of middle England are generally anxious about the decline of moral standards…


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