Friday, 4 December 2015

Class and Status research and representation

British Class quiz:

After taking the 'British class quiz', I was placed into the technical middle class section of society. According to the BBC, this means that I tend to mix socially with people of similar interests and I like to engage in emerging culture by getting involved in different activities such as visiting art galleries, going to concerts, listening to classical music, etc. People of this group also tend to be interested in and have skills in technical, scientific areas and will usually end up working in those areas.

 Personally, I don't feel like I belong in this class as I don't tend to judge where my place in society is based on what activities I like to take part in. For example, I love going to concerts and festivals which are generally quite grungy and associated with people who are maybe 'looser' and less concerned about what society thinks of them. On the other hand, I also enjoy classical music and I can appreciate museums and galleries just as much as a rock festival. I feel like this quiz stereotypes people into what is typically expected of people who are associated with certain classes. Also, I have no interest what so ever in science, maths or any academic/technical subject, nor am I good at them as this quiz suggests...

Class and status is difficult to determine as people are scared of what might be thought of them if they're associated with a certain class, For example, people who are of the upper class might not want to be associated with the upper class as they're typically snobbish, belittling and posh which is frowned upon by most people in today's society. Similarly, people don't like to be associated with the lower classes as they're typically expected to be 'chavvy' and are also frowned upon. 

This suggests that class and status is more of a stereotyping system to tell people what they're worth in society and there will always be conflict and rivalry not only between those who are of upper and lower class (e.g: a class/power struggle) but also between those who choose not to identify or associate themselves with a specific class and those who believe everyone should have a place. 

How is class measured? 

Class in generally measured by how much money people have and what they choose to involve themselves with culturally and socially. According to most statistics, what job someone has, where they live and what they choose to do in their spare time determines what class they are. Personally I feel that there are issues with labeling people as a certain class simply because of what they do or how much money they earn as people may have different views and feelings towards the stereotypes that come with that particular class. I don't think that labeling people is necessary anymore, especially in today's society  as the need for class separation isn't relevant anymore. In today's society we are striving for equality across all walks of life and categorizing someone over how much money they have and how educated they are defeats the object of class equality. In terms of TV Drama, a wrong or stereotypical representation of someone of a particular class might cause upset and effect how the show is reviewed. Also, it might give people (especially those of a younger generation) an impression that they feel they have to follow because they are of a certain class. 

Representations of Class and Status through mise-en-scene in TV Drama

Clip - Downton Abbey

In this clip from Downton Abbey, the lower classes are shown to have the bare minimum they need to survive as they have a bed to sleep in and a sink in a room which they have to share with other servants. Their clothes are neat as they are servicing the upper class but they are still dull and have no detail to them. Later on in the clip we see a boy of the sane class stood outside wearing very worn out, scruffy clothing which is typical of someone of his class. When the servants go upstairs to start cleaning the rest of the house so that it's ready for the upper class people, you see a very clear difference in wealth and detail. The rooms are covered from floor to ceiling in colours that symbolize wealth such as reds and golds. There's also an excess of furniture, paintings, rugs, etc which is there to show that the upper class people can afford to have more than they need and they aren't prepared to share it with those who are deemed inferior. The butler who is seen walking around collecting glasses at the beginning of the clip is dressed very smartly as he has the most contact with the upper class, showing that he must look as though he were wealthy just to be seen by the upper class, otherwise it would be seen as offensive to the upper class to have someone of such inferiority in their presence.

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