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Socio-Economic Class

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Introduction

Socio-Economic Class The theory of social class is a socio-economic syllabus that sets the criteria of social divides in society. It uses issues such as culture, social norms values and occupation in terms of the income generated from this, in order to place people in an echelon of society that best describes them. Throughout the world, the theory of class has different impacts and criteria. However in America the social hierarchy is made up of four social divides: The 'Upper Class' whose social status is perceived via their material wealth and social respect, the middle class whose main characteristic is their professional standing in the occupation fields i.e. doctors and lawyers, the lower / working class who are perceived through their normative laid back behaviour, and the underclass who are seen as the outcasts in the whole social system. The way in which people perceive these classes divides is as a result of media representation. For instance, large media institutions such as Hollywood and Disney base their film narratives around the theory of social class. An example of this is lady and the tramp and Titanic. The media control belief that is addressed by the hypodermic syringe model of media effects argues that the broadcasting of representation influences the attitudes of the audience. It is a proven fact that a negative representation results in negative social attitudes. This is due to the creation of social stereotypes through the media, that allows audiences to associate certain characteristics with a certain sector of society. This in my opinion is the basis of social inequality and discrimination. By 'labelling' people we are merely providing social injustice and preventing the social stratification process from taking its course. The concept of representation embodies the theme that the media constructs meanings about the world, and in doing so, help audiences to understand the underlying message that is attempting to be portrayed. ...read more.

Middle

The body language of the actors suggests certain characteristics that are associated with certain classes. Edward is very nervous in the car and appears tom be vulnerable in the city alone. This suggests that he does not travel alone often because his lifestyle involves the use of fancy sofas and aeroplanes. In contrast, Vivian appears confidant and immoral. Her stance in the street is very seductive and suggests that she is selling her body for money, actions that would be shunned if they were to be carried out by a person of higher social status. Vivian's walk to the car is a very unique example of her provocative body language. It is orientated around her job and aims to attract her clients. A distinguishing factor in the divide between Edward and Vivian as well as their peers is the difference between his formal language and her colloquial language. Different classes can sometimes be identified by the type of language that is spoken by them. This is certainly the case. Phrases such as ' fasten your seatbelt, I'm going to take you for the ride of your life' is not a sentence that would be constructed by the highly educated elite. The diagetic sound that is edited onto this sector of the film contributes to the identification of the two classes. Vivian's shots are dominated by a high tempo modern beat. In contrast, Edwards is slower in tempo but till possesses beats. However it tends to be associated with each of the characters when it is played. Never the less, no matter what message is trying to be conveyed, it is the way in which the film is shot that determines how the representation is interpreted by the audience. The shots range from high angled birds eye views to low angled shots which when analysed effectively contribute to the class identification within the film. The majority of shots used in the film are medium, which are used to show the facial expressions and actions of the actors. ...read more.

Conclusion

It conforms to the theme of the film : a fairytale of a young women who is saved by a rich prince. Edward uses a post-modern version in order to re enact this fairytale. Vivian is pictured back in her apartment, but now, due to her transformation does not conform to this type of lifestyle. When Edward arrives a high angles shot shows him arriving and then shows a high angled shot of Vivian looking down on him. This is similar to Edwards high angle shot when he was looking down onto his business associates in order to show their inferiority to him. However this shot shows how Vivian's love dominates him. High angled shots of Edward overcoming his fear of heights when climbing the ladder to Vivian shows how in order to achieve social unity all classes must break barriers otherwise social stratification will be non existent. In contrast to the beginning of the film, this scene is shown in the light showing the happiness of their achievement. In contrast the same apartment was shown in darkness at the beginning of the film in order to portray doom and gloom. This therefore suggests that social unity also creates social prosperity. The fact that the scene is filmed at Vivian's house with a limo outside suggests that in order to achieve such a social unity , then partners must integrate the two types of lifestyles and not just take up one or the other. Therefore as we can see from the film above, the film Pretty Women through the use of media technology represents how social class determines sectors of the society i.e relationships and social acceptance. Through the use of media variables such as film form and, mise en scene and narrative theory, connotations can exists that mould social consensus. However, the audiences of films must take into consideration that these are Hollywood interpretations of fairy tales that are aimed at all types of audiences. Therefore the representations of social class within this film is very effective. However the representation of social issues such as prostitution and its alluring factors are not. ...read more.

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