New book explores social class as portrayed in contemporary media


November 14, 2017

June Deery book examines the social impact of media representations of the classroom

A new book designed and edited by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute professor June Deery examines the role of media, from television and film to today’s digital platforms, in representing social class. Media and class: TV, cinema and digital culture, published by Routledge, offers a collection of essays written by media scholars who examine issues of media, class and politics in Britain, America and beyond.

Although the idea of ​​class becomes politically and culturally charged again, the relationship between media and class remains under-studied, according to Deery, professor of communications and media at Rensselaer.

“Because it is not visibly expressed physically, class is generally less visible than gender or race and therefore more dependent on the judgment of the observer,” write she and her co-editor, Andrea Press, in the introduction to the book. But, they say, class representation is evidently present in a wide range of media productions.

In Media and class, case studies address media representations and media participation in a variety of platforms, with particular attention to contemporary culture, from celetoids to selfies, Downton abbey To Duck Dynasty, and royals on reality TV.

Whether engaging in a broad theoretical discussion or specific empirical studies, the essays explore how different media navigate and negotiate, caricature and distill, or control and regulate classes.

In a section on the representation of class as entertainment, essays explore the failure of the media to represent the working class; class and gender in TV sitcoms; and the entertainment value of poverty and wealth, in an essay written by Deery. Other essays approach class and taste through the documentary prism; and the working class and ordinary celebrity. A final section on digital cultures examines topics such as the classroom and the software economy.

“We hope that each of these essays will inform and inspire further research on the classroom and the media by arguing for the continued importance of analyzing the interconnections between the two in an era of growing social inequality,” the editors write. in their conclusion. .

Deery received his BA in Literature from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, and a PhD. in Literature from the University of Oxford. Over the years, she has focused her research on media studies and is particularly interested in contemporary television and its interface with the Internet.

His recent books include Reality show (Polity, 2014), which examines the impact of reality TV since its inception and the contribution it has made to discussions of gender, class, race, fame and consumer identity, and Consuming Reality: The Commercialization of Factual Entertainment (Palgrave, 2012), which examines the development of television as a social and interactive medium, and the commodification of viewers and television participants.

Deery has received awards for best journal article, best conference paper and for teaching, including the 2010 Rensselaer Trustees’ Outstanding Teacher Award.

Deery’s work is an example of how Rensselaer embodies The New Polytechnic, a new paradigm for teaching, learning and research. Rensselaer leads by using cutting-edge technologies to unite a multiplicity of disciplines and perspectives, in order to address large and multifaceted challenges to become transformative in three fundamental ways: in the global impact of our research, in our innovative pedagogy and in the lives of our students.

About the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is the first technological research university in the United States. For nearly 200 years, Rensselaer has defined the scientific and technological advances of our world. Rensselaer’s professors and alumni represent 85 members of the National Academy of Engineering, 17 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 25 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 8 members of the National Academy of Medicine, 8 members of the National Academy of Inventors and 5 members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, as well as 6 winners of the National Medal of Technology, 5 winners of the National Medal of Science and a laureate of the Nobel Prize in Physics. With 7,000 students and nearly 100,000 alumni alive, Rensselaer tackles the global challenges facing the 21st century: changing lives, advancing society and changing the world. To find out more, visit


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