Differences in perception of class through the media
Do the media promote a class divided within the society in the United Kingdom? The purpose of this study is to delve into the media’s influence on perception of class.
One cannot open a newspaper or tune into the TV without being exposed to stories of class culture stereotypes. From the bankers scandals to the corrupt politicians to the ASBO (anti-social behaviour order) ridden council estates, it would seem apparent that the media have a certain control over public perception of society.
The main objective of this research is to survey a completely random population, from this determine their frequency and type of media exposure in order to understand if there may be some correlation between media output and population perception of class. Also subjects will be analysed using age and background as variables.
Amongst the masses of books and journals relating to this particular area of research there is a book by Owen Jones that delves dramatically into the subject. It superbly separates the vision of the ‘hero’ working class of the 80’s strikers involved in the unions at the heart of the miner’s strikes and todays ‘feral underclass’ of Burberry wearing ASBO ridden modern working class.
The book ‘Chavs; the demonization of the working class’ 2012 by Jones is an up to date account of the media political, and there for social perception of the lower classes. Jones begins with an anecdote of a dinner party in which the topic of conversation is drawn onto the closure of Woolworths to which ‘where will all the chavs buy their Christmas presents’ is quoted. The people at the party were all considered educated, not bigots and somewhat liberal, yet despite this no one flinched at this derogatory term. Had someone murmured ‘paki or puff’ there would have been uproar, however the term chav has somehow become a socially acceptable nickname for undesirables.
Chavs tries to understand how such a derogatory has become so palatable and how such discrimination of a population is regarded fair game. It discusses media professionals as white collar middle class, as far removed from the council estates that they discuss with no empathy towards such individuals and how they have manipulated their subscribers to a point in which such blasts have become acceptable and common place.
Peter Golding writes in ‘thinking the unthinkable’ chapter 9 edited by Bob franklin 2002. He discusses in much the same way as jones how the media has been demonising the lower classes. It goes on to focus on headlines of a ‘shirker state’ of welfare cheats. Its emphasis is on the exploitation of the social security system, it does from a statistical stance. Whereas chavs is seemingly emphatic towards the lower classes this paper is more of an attack on journalism.
Golding’s primary research is similar to that proposed in this paper. Whilst this paper is well focused, the research is concentrated on...