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Watching the World$
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Thomas Austin

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780719076893

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719076893.001.0001

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Approaching the invisible centre: middle-class identity and documentary film

Approaching the invisible centre: middle-class identity and documentary film

(p.109) 5 Approaching the invisible centre: middle-class identity and documentary film
Watching the World

Thomas Austin

Manchester University Press

This chapter delineates how middle-class identity has shaped discussions on film and documentary. Middle-class characters and concerns are repeatedly represented in popular film—both fiction and documentary. But the critical tools with which to approach the classed nature of such portrayals need to be refined and developed. The same is true of class-sensitive perspectives on the media industries and media audiences. Some ways have been demonstrated in which screen representations of middle-class characters can be examined precisely as classed, rather than as simply neutral or taken for granted. The classed nature of such portrayals, the exact characteristics ascribed to the middle class, and the invitations made to a middle-class viewer are perhaps most readily available for analysis in films that stage meetings between members of the middle and working classes. The chapter is intended to act as a spur towards more critical thinking about class, in all its manifestations and complexities, within film and media studies.

Keywords:   middle-class identity, classed nature, class-sensitive perspectives, middle-class characters, working classes

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