Media Matters Seminar Series 2017: The Return of Class?

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Date(s) - 22/05/2017
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Monash University, Caulfield Campus, Building B, B.537 (Theatrette)

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School of Media, Film and Journalism

Media Matters Seminar Series 2017

Welcome to Media Matters, the School of Media, Film and Journalism seminar series. Media increasingly shapes cultures, industries, markets and values in different ways, in a time when understandings of news, media entertainment and media work experience profound shifts. Media Matters is a forum designed to explore contemporary debates and challenges of current media landscapes, employing combinations of media disciplines, expertise and industries.


The Return of Class?


Chair: Associate Professor Mark Gibson (MFJ)

Professor Wanning Sun (University of Technology, Sydney)

Dr Deb Anderson (MFJ)

Associate Professor Tony Moore (MFJ)


The Return of Class?

The concept of social class was central in the formation of Media Studies. In its major forms in Britain, Australia and North America, the development of the field was substantially embedded within a wider project of democratisation, associated with the expansion in the second half of the twentieth century of higher education, broadcasting and the ‘reading public’. A key question in this context was the mode of participation of the social majority, then still identified straightforwardly as ‘the working class’, as they moved into institutions and social spaces that had previously been relatively closed to them.

Over the last twenty years, the concept has seen a significant recession as scholars have disowned Marxist paradigms and sought to correct earlier blindnesses to questions of gender, race, sexual identity and other dimensions of difference. In post-socialist China, where economic inequality has become the most pressing social problem, class has been erased from official discourses. More recently however, there have been signs of a return to class. This has gained particular momentum since the Brexit referendum in the UK, the election of Donald Trump in the US and advances by populist political movements around the world. Where are we now, then, with the concept of class in studies of media, screen and journalism?