Class

Media scholars who study class lament the relative lack of attention it gets in both the academy and the culture at large, citing the diverse meanings of class (socioeconomic, cultural, behavioral, etc.) and, in relation, the fact that class is not marked on the body’s surface as consistently or visibly as gender or race. Nevertheless, media studies research on class exists, exploring class both “on-screen” (in media texts) and “off-screen” (in spaces of production and consumption, broadly conceived).

Studies of class “on-screen” typically analyze individual texts in context. Whether the focus is Amos ‘n’ Andy on radio, Norma Rae on film, Keeping Up with the Kardashians on television, or Fred the “trailer-trash” kid on YouTube, close readings identify class-coded meanings expressed through character, action, and narrative development. At its best, this work helps us see class dynamics and their relationship to broader social formations outside the text. A good example …

This essay may be found on page 39 of the printed volume.

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