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Title: Dynamics of social class contempt in contemporary British television comedy
Authors: Lockyer, S
Keywords: Chavs;Social class;Television comedy;Little Britain;Vicky Pollard;Interpretive diversity;Representation
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Citation: Social Semiotics, 20(2), 121 - 138, 2010
Abstract: British television comedy has often ridiculed the complexities and characteristics of social class structures and identities. In recent years, poor white socially marginalised groups, now popularly referred to as “chavs”, have become a prevalent comedy target. One of the most popular and controversial television “comedy chavs” is Little Britain's fictional teenage single mother, Vicky Pollard. This article examines the representation of Vicky Pollard in light of contemporary widespread abuse of the white working class. Highlighting the polysemic and ambivalent nature of Vicky Pollard's representation, the article argues that whilst Little Britain's characterisation of Vicky Pollard largely contributes to contemporary widespread demonisation of the working class, there are moments within Little Britain when a more sympathetic tone towards the poor working class may be read, and where chav identities are used to ridicule the pretensions, superficiality, and falsity of middle-class identities. The article concludes that television comedy has been, and continues to be, a significant vehicle through which serious concerns, anxieties, and questions about social class and class identities are discursively constructed and contested.
Description: This is the author's accepted manuscript. The final published article is available from the link below. Copyright @ 2010 Taylor & Francis.
ISSN: 1035-0330
Appears in Collections:Sociology
Dept of Social Sciences Media and Communications Research Papers

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