Just Sociology

Exploring Social Class Representation in Mainstream Media

Social class representation in mainstream media is an important topic that has garnered increasing attention in recent years. As communication technologies have advanced, media has become a powerful tool in shaping the public’s perceptions of social class.

The way that social class is represented in mainstream media has real-world implications for how individuals are treated and how policies are formed. In this academic article, we will explore several subtopics related to social class representation in mainstream media, including the representation of the monarchy, wealthy individuals, the middle class, working-class individuals, and benefits claimants (‘the underclass’).

Representation of the Monarchy:

The representation of the monarchy in mainstream media has undergone a reinvention over the years. In soap operas and other forms of media, the monarchy has been portrayed as a symbol of national identity and heritage.

Royal events such as weddings and jubilees have been heavily covered by the press and portray the monarchy as a positive force in society. However, the representation of the monarchy in media is not without criticism.

Some critics argue that the media’s focus on the monarchy obscures other significant social issues in society. Representation of Wealthy Individuals:

The representation of wealthy individuals in mainstream media is often positive, with glamourization being a common theme.

The world of the rich and famous is featured in glossy magazines and on reality shows, presenting individuals as aspirational figures. However, this glamorization can also contribute to the wealth gap.

Society’s obsession with the lifestyles of the rich and famous can lead to a feeling of dissatisfaction and disengagement among those who cannot attain such levels of wealth. Representation of the Middle Classes:

The representation of the middle classes in mainstream media is over-represented.

T.V. presenters and news agendas are dominated by the middle class point of view. There is a lack of diversity in the representation of the middle class in media.

The views of the working class and lower income individuals are often overlooked. The media perpetuates the idea that a middle-class lifestyle is the norm and desirable.

Representation of the Working Classes:

The working classes are often underrepresented in mainstream media, and when they are represented, it is usually in a negative manner. Soaps, television dramas, and documentaries often portray working-class lives as fraught with negativity and struggle.

Racism is also a common theme and is often used to scapegoat working-class individuals. With the recent Brexit vote, there has been a renewed focus on working-class representation in mainstream media.

Representation of Benefits Claimants (‘The Underclass’):

The depiction of benefits claimants in mainstream media is often negative, and they are frequently presented as the underclass. Structural features of media such as framing and agenda-setting shape the public’s perception of benefits claimants, which can lead to negative attitudes towards the poor.

Programs such as ‘Benefits Street’ have been criticized for their scapegoating of benefits claimants and their perpetuation of negative stereotypes. Conclusion:

In conclusion, the representation of social class in mainstream media is a complex issue with far-reaching implications.

The media’s role in shaping public perceptions of social class is significant, and media creators should consider the impact that their work has on society. More diversity is needed in the representation of social class in the media, with more emphasis placed on positive portrayals of working-class individuals and benefits claimants.

The media has a responsibility to reflect society’s social class makeup in a fair and just manner, and the diversity and complexity of society should be celebrated and reflected in mainstream media. In summary, this academic article explored the complex issue of social class representation in mainstream media.

The media’s portrayal of the monarchy, wealthy individuals, the middle classes, working-class individuals, and benefits claimants (‘the underclass’) was analyzed to determine the impact that these representations can have on society. The article emphasizes the need for more diversity and positive portrayals of social classes in mainstream media, and the importance of media creators recognizing their responsibility in shaping public perceptions of social class.

FAQs:

Q: Why is social class representation in mainstream media important? A: The media’s portrayal of social class can shape public perceptions and have real-world implications for how individuals are treated and how policies are formed.

Q: What are some examples of negative representations of social classes in mainstream media? A: Negative representations of working-class individuals and benefits claimants as the underclass and scapegoating of these groups in programs such as ‘Benefits Street.’

Q: What is the impact of the media’s focus on the monarchy?

A: The media’s focus on the monarchy can obscure other significant social issues in society. Q: What is the common theme in the representation of wealthy individuals in mainstream media?

A: The representation of wealthy individuals in mainstream media is often positive, with glamourization being a common theme. Q: What is the need for more diversity in the representation of social classes in mainstream media?

A: The media’s over-representation of the middle class point of view and lack of diversity perpetuates the idea that a middle-class lifestyle is the norm and desirable.

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