Mockery and morality in popular cultural representations of the white working class

Raisborough, Jayne and Adams, Matthew (2008) Mockery and morality in popular cultural representations of the white working class Sociological Research Online, 13 (6). ISSN 1360-7804

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Abstract

We draw on 'new' class analysis to argue that mockery frames many cultural representations of class and move to consider how it operates within the processes of class distinction. Influenced by theories of disparagement humour, we explore how mockery creates spaces of enunciation, which serve, when inhabited by the middle class, particular articulations of distinction from the white, working class. From there we argue that these spaces, often presented as those of humour and fun, simultaneously generate for the middle class a certain distancing from those articulations. The plays of articulation and distancing, we suggest, allow a more palatable, morally sensitive form of distinction-work for the middle-class subject than can be offered by blunt expressions of disgust currently argued by some 'new' class theorising. We will claim that mockery offers a certain strategic orientation to class and to distinction work before finishing with a detailed reading of two Neds comic strips to illustrate what aspects of perceived white, working class lives are deemed appropriate for these functions of mockery. The Neds, are the latest comic-strip family launched by the publishers of children's comics The Beano and The Dandy, D C Thomson and Co Ltd

Item Type:Journal article
Additional Information:Shortlisted for the Sage Prize for Innovation and Excellence 2009
Uncontrolled Keywords:Chav; Children's Comics; Cultural Representations; Disgust; Distinction; Humour; Middle Class; Ned; Ridicule; Working Class
Subjects:L000 Social Sciences > L300 Sociology
DOI (a stable link to the resource):10.5153/sro.1814
Faculties:Faculty of Health and Social Sciences > School of Applied Social Science > Psychosocial Studies
ID Code:7265
Deposited By:editor sass
Deposited On:29 Sep 2010 14:39
Last Modified:22 Jan 2014 11:37

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