Topic Videos

Media Representations of Social Class | Media | AQA A-Level Sociology

A-Level, IB
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB, Eduqas, WJEC

Last updated 12 Nov 2023

This key topic video provides A Level Sociology students with an essential summary of sociological ideas about media representations of social class. The video summarises some key points and studies along with relevant evaluation.

Media Representations of Social Class | Media | AQA A-Level Sociology
  1. Overview of Media Representations of Social Class:
    • The video explores how media depicts the interests and lifestyles of various social classes.
    • The portrayal of social classes in media is a subject of debate between Marxists and pluralists, with the former claiming intentional representation and the latter arguing for reflection of real-life situations.
  2. Stereotyping and Marginalization in Poverty Representation:
    • Individuals in poverty, particularly those reliant on welfare benefits, are often marginalized in media representations.
    • Media tends to attribute poverty to cultural factors or unforeseen circumstances rather than examining it structurally.
    • Reality programs often label the underclass as welfare-dependent, reinforcing stereotypes of being workshy and demanding.
  3. Working Class Representation:
    • While some argue for an idealization of the working class in soap operas, others like Owen Jones claim media demonizes them by emphasizing distinctive subcultural values.
    • The working class's interests are often trivialized or ignored, evident in media coverage of events like the EU referendum in 2016.
  4. Middle Class as Default Audience:
    • The middle class is considered the default audience for media coverage, with media professionals primarily reflecting middle-class ideas.
    • News coverage tends to focus on middle-class interests, such as economic performance, at the expense of the working class.
  5. Upper Class and Monarchy Representation:
    • Traditionally, the media has been reverential towards the upper classes and the monarchy, presenting their lifestyles as aspirational.
    • However, recent shifts, especially with the rise of digital media, have led to increased scrutiny of the upper class, including politicians and the monarchy.
    • The rejection of meta-narratives, including those related to social class, is observed, with individuals challenging media sources and denouncing them as spreading false narratives or fake news based on individual worldviews.

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