Media and class-making: what lessons are learnt when a celebrity chav dies?

Hannah Frith, Jayne Raisborough, Orly Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Class is often overlooked in sociological studies of death just as studies of class overlook death. The controversial media coverage of the death of Jade Goody provides a useful focus for exploring contemporary class-making. Recent sociological analyses of class representations in popular culture have demonstrated how denigration and humiliation serve as mechanisms which position sections of the white, working class (chavs) as repositories of bad taste. We argue that these are not the only (or even the most prevalent) affective mechanisms for class-making. In this paper, we explore how cultural imperatives for ‘dying well’ intersect with what could be perceived as more positive or even affectionate representations of Jade to produce ‘good taste’ as a naturalised properties of the middle class. As such, we demonstrate that the circulation of inequalities through precarious and dynamic cultural representations involves more complex affective mechanisms in class boundary work than is often recognised.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-266
Number of pages16
JournalSociology
Volume47
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

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death
popular culture
dying
working class
middle class
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Bibliographical note

The final, definitive version of this paper has been published in
Sociology, 47(2), 10/2012 by SAGE Publications Ltd, All rights reserved. © The Author(s)

Keywords

  • Celebrity
  • Chav
  • Class
  • Death
  • Jade Goody
  • Reality Television

Cite this

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abstract = "Class is often overlooked in sociological studies of death just as studies of class overlook death. The controversial media coverage of the death of Jade Goody provides a useful focus for exploring contemporary class-making. Recent sociological analyses of class representations in popular culture have demonstrated how denigration and humiliation serve as mechanisms which position sections of the white, working class (chavs) as repositories of bad taste. We argue that these are not the only (or even the most prevalent) affective mechanisms for class-making. In this paper, we explore how cultural imperatives for ‘dying well’ intersect with what could be perceived as more positive or even affectionate representations of Jade to produce ‘good taste’ as a naturalised properties of the middle class. As such, we demonstrate that the circulation of inequalities through precarious and dynamic cultural representations involves more complex affective mechanisms in class boundary work than is often recognised.",
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Media and class-making: what lessons are learnt when a celebrity chav dies? / Frith, Hannah; Raisborough, Jayne; Klein, Orly.

In: Sociology, Vol. 47, No. 2, 01.01.2012, p. 251-266.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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