Framing Class, Vicarious Living, and Conspicuous Consumption
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The media tends to trivialize issues of class and to downplay the existential problems poverty entails. Diana Kendall’s chapter from her 2005 monograph Framing Class: Media Representations of Wealth and Poverty in America explains how media consumption leads viewers to identify with the way other people, usually those belonging to a superior class, live. This occurs through a set of frames. These frames, in turn, affect how we think about class divisions and economic inequality, how we relate to the affluent and the poor. Each frame, Kendall proposes, is organized through a set of stereotypes and metaphors. Class representations are filtered through a number of frames, which are organized hierarchically: from top to bottom.