University Of Tasmania
Honours_Thesis_-_Viewing_the_Lower_Class_Through_Today_Tonight_-_An_Analysis_of_a_Representation_of_Housos.pdf (174.45 kB)

Viewing the 'Lower Class' through Today Tonight: An analysis of Housos re-representation

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posted on 2023-05-26, 02:08 authored by Eiszele, JS
There is an extensive body of academic research into media representation highlighting and analysing the nature of racial or gendered representations. Comparatively there has been little recent research done into depictions of the 'lower class'. This study aims to build upon the work on this disadvantaged group by focusing on Australian current affairs programme Today Tonight. In doing so, this thesis will be building upon the limited amount of work that has been done on the Australian media in regard to class representation. As there has been little research specifically into Today Tonight's approach to 'lower-class' people it also helps fill a notable gap. It is imperative to look at the link between representations of this group alongside the hegemony of the mainstream media. The utilisation of Antoni Gramsci's theory of hegemony is used in this thesis to attempt to offer a conceptual perspective of media representation concerning the 'lower class'. This research deliberately chooses to apply the term, 'lower class', as opposed to 'working class' as it defines both the self and external representations of this group. The thesis argues that the group is presented as unsocial, threatening and consequently deviant by Today Tonight. As a case study, this thesis uses the programme's coverage of the filming of the movie Housos vs Authority which highlights how the programme draws upon the representations on offer in the satirical show to contribute to a common sense understanding of the group. To add substance to an analysis of this re-representation, the thesis highlights a typical report on the real-life 'lower class' by Today Tonight as well as an episode of Housos to compare and (where possible) contrast the approaches taken by these texts with the Housos movie report. The research identifies a dichotomy between representations of this group with that of the 'middle class' in the programme and that this ultimately furthers a negative depiction of the lower socio-economic group by emphasising their anti-social behaviours in contrast to the middle class's more favourable representation. The thesis argues that the media contributes to inequality by treating a disadvantaged group unfavourably, effectively disparaging people who are in abject or 'lower' situations chiefly due to processes out of their control.


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