Collective identity

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					You must include past, RECENT PRESENT, future – two media, fiction and non fiction, describe your representations of young British
working class males, theories

Films                                    Narrative                             Themes                            Characters
Island People 1940– non fiction          England hard working,                 There is work and happiness all   Workers revolving around
                                         farmers, miners, factories,           round, food, roof and job =       industry
                                         offices                               happiness
                                                                               British character strong and
Christmas Under Fire 1941– non           Christmas mid war                     Emotional pull at heartstrings    Families getting ready for
fiction                                  British defy the Blitz to             trying to get US to give money,   Christmas
                                         celebrate Christmas as                British tough survivors, still
                                         cheerfully as possible                celebrating Christmas
Brief Encounter (1945) fiction           Coward's customary                                                      Laura and Dr Alec fall in love
                                         condescension towards his
                                         working-class characters -
                                         Stanley Holloway's decent
                                         stationmaster and Joyce Cary's
                                         genteel buffet manageress -
                                         grates, but their teasing
                                         flirtation across the rock cakes is
                                         an effective and necessary
                                         comic counterpoint to the
                                         romantic intensity of Alec and
                                         Laura's growing infatuation.
Saturday Night Sunday Morning            Arthur rebels at work, he             Adolescence, rebelling against    Arthur (first angry young man)
1960 film set in late 50s                rebels morally getting a              established norm of behaviour,    not happy with his lot, looking at
(middle class Czech director discusses   married woman pregnant,               wanting more                      father, job, roof over head not
working classes in Nottingham)           talks about changing his life                                           enough
                                        but then ends up (probably
                                        just like his dad) emergence
                                        of a teenager
Quadrophenia (Franc Roddam 1979)        Weekend mod bikers –             Rebellion, gang mentality,           Jimmy and friends
Based on 60s mod craze.                 working class, fashion very      violence, disrespect for
Vested interest in selling albums as    important, being part of a       community, work, parents, more
well, was the media hype really that    group                            extreme adolescence, sex, drugs
great? Were all mods really that bad?                                    and rock’n roll, rebellion, acting
Can be compared with Trainspotting                                       out, moral panic youth culture,
cult film amongst youth, soundtrack                                      newspaper cuttings about
                                                                         weekend seaside fights,
                                                                         media thrive on reporting and
                                                                         hyping mod abuse and mods
                                                                         revel in being reported about.
                                                                         Blues drugs experimental rather
My Beautiful Laundrette                 Jonny tries to break away     Breaking away from bad                  Jonny and Omar
(1986 ) Stephen Frears                  from squatter, crime culture  influences (collective identity of
New for multicultural representations   of friends and gets a job in agang friends – beginnings of
(finally!) and sexuality but similar    laundrette, representation of underclass representations? Not
narrative of trying to break away       middle classes also negative. just working class) starting new
from negative influences (Jonny’s                                     life ( as Renton in Trainspotting),
friends) and start a new life                                         love, homosexuality,
                                                                      religion,(arranged marriages)
                                                                      political ideas (Omar’s dad)
This is England (made in 2005 about     Observes nice group of        Working class and fashion (as           Shaun (12yr old) comparable to
80s Thatcher skinhead era) based on     skinheads (Woody and co.)     with mods)                              Curtis in Bullet Boy. Woody (like
Shane Meadows when he was               who befriend him and ‘father’ Group mentality and fitting in          an older brother, father figure)
Shaun’s age. Autobiographical.          him. Positive rep of working  Choosing the right path (Woody          Lol his gf and mates. Friendly
                                         class collective identity until   or Combo)                           positive group.
                                         Combo comes out of jail.                                              Combo represents minority of
                                                                                                               skinheads violent and racist.
Trainspotting – (1996) Danny Boyle       Renton and friends hang out       Can you change? Drugs. Breaking     Renton driven narrative
Highly stylised, some youth              and take drugs, Renton tries      away from the system then
dissatisfaction with real problems but   to give up, start new life in     realising only way is to join it.
more about music and visuals             London, bad friends follow,       Excess music and visuals
(the E in PIES)                          ends with robbery. Will he        attracted younger audiences to a
                                         ever be able to go down           new kind of realism. Real
                                         straight and narrow?              problems highly stylised. Being
                                                                           Scottish, drug addict, poverty.
Bullet Boy (2004) Saul Dibb              Ricky comes out of jail, Curtis   Again choosing the right path,      Ricky (has to decide)
Comes from area, realistic               ( his little brother) and         breaking away from gang culture,    Wisdom (bad influence drug
representation                           Wisdom (best friend) waiting      drugs and violence and no real      dealer)
(I and E maybe S in PIES)                for him. Curtis observes          father figure.                      Curtis (watches on as Shaun and
                                         behaviours as Ricky tries to                                          will be influenced in either
                                         break away from crime and                                             direction)
                                         violence and start new life
                                         and Wisdom keeps drawing
                                         him into the dark side.
It’s a Free World (2007)– Ken Loach      Angie works helping               Bad rep of UK, good rep of          Angie and lots of working class
(king of realism with a political        immigrants find work in UK,       Europeans                           immigrant workers
agenda – leftist)                        gets sacked after she                                                 (representation of Europeans as
                                         complains of harassment,                                              new British)
                                         sets up own business helping
Somers Town – (2008) Shane               Midlands kid moves to             Britain not just white (as in BL,   Marek and Tomo
Meadows (grew up in the                  London gets beaten up and         BB) eastern European and
environment his films are set in, all   robbed meets Polish kid who     immigration, Eurostar image
based on stories from his growing up)   likes taking photos, nice dad   bringing Europe together, are we
                                        who works for Eurostar, they    now becoming more European
                                        hang out Polish kid looks       less British. Positive
                                        after him, both in love with    representation of Polish, negative
                                        same girl.                      of English kid’s upbringing.
Looking for Eric – 2009 Ken Loach       The plot revolves around a      Eric the postman is slipping          Eric and Eric, his stepson and ex-
                                        football fanatic postman        through his own fingers... His wife   wife
                                        (Evets) whose life is           has gone, his stepsons are out of
                                        descending into crisis.         control and the house was             Interesting combination of
                                        Looking after his               chaotic even before a cement          realism, fantasy, sport and
                                        granddaughter is bringing       mixer appeared in the front           comedy
                                        him into contact with his ex-   garden. Life is crazy enough, but
                                        wife, and his stepson is        it is Eric's own secret that is
                                        hoarding a gun for a local      driving him to the brink. How can
                                        gangster. At his weakest        he face up to Lily, the woman of
                                        moments, when he considers      his dreams that he once loved
                                        suicide, his hallucinations     and walked out on many years
                                        bring forth visits from his     ago? Despite the comical efforts
                                        footballing hero, the           and misplaced goodwill of his
                                        famously philosophical Eric     mates, Eric continues to sink. In
                                        Cantona. [D-Man2010]            desperate times it takes a spliff
                                                                        and a special friend to help a lost
                                                                        postman find his way, so Eric
                                                                        turns to his hero: footballing
                                                                        genius, philosopher and poster
                                                                        boy, Eric Cantona.
Harry Brown – 2009 Daniel Barber        Retired ex marine lives in an   Lack of male role models, the         Harry, Len, DI Alice Frampton,
                                        estate dominated by unruly      underclass – one stepfather           can’t remember what the bad
                                        youths who torment anyone       sexually abuses, another father       kids were called
                               who walks near the                role model is leader of gangs but
                               underpass. After his best         in jail. Another adult male role
                               friend is killed and the police   model runs the pub but promotes
                               do not contribute to the          the violence undercover.
                               cause, Harry takes the law        Nothing to lose, being part of
                               into his own hands.               violent gang is their only identity.
                                                                 Not being able to live in peace in
                                                                 a south London estate. Futile
                                                                 attempts made by police (law,
TV representations
Cathy Come Home                Young married couple (Cath        Class – working class seen as          Cath and Reg – narrative
                               and Reg). Reg loses job due to    coming together to help each           positioned from their point of
                               work injury (no support or        other out in adversity. Middle         view to allow audience to identify
                               benefits). Series of worsening    class council workers seen as          Seen as caring for children
                               problems resulting in them        unsympathetic                          despite difficulties
                               ending up homeless.               Homelessness –as a result of           Working class seen as close knit
                               TV play but documentary           series of misfortunes. No state        community
                               style                             support available for those in         Middle class – uncaring, faceless

Steptoe and Son                Early sitcom featuring father     Family                                 Albert (father) quite crass and
                               and son ‘Rag and bone’ men.       Class                                  vulgar, dirty and Harold (son).
                               Comic trap of aspirational son                                           Conflict in relationship,
                               unable to be free of confines                                            sometimes aggressive
                               of father
Eastenders/Coronation Street   Eastenders 1985 – present.        Class – certain characters             Ken Barlow – aspired (and
                               Based in fictional ‘Albert        aspirational to middle class e.g.      achieved) higher class status
                               Square’ East London working       Ken Barlow in first episode –          through education. Although still
                               class families. Increasingly      conflict with dad, Sally Webster       lives on street now!
                                  focused on range of               wanting children to go to public
                                  ethnicities to reflect changing   school
                                  demographic of cities.            Regionality
                                  Corrie – 1960 – present.          Family – soaps based around
                                  Always focused on                 strong family units. Idea of
                                  representation of working         ‘matriarch’ strong female who is
                                  class northern issues. E.g.       head of family (e.g. Peggy
                                  social issues of unrest due to    Mitchell ‘Eastenders’) common in
                                  closing                           soaps
                                  factories/unemployment able       Key issues of the time reflected in
                                  to be reflected due to factory    narrative e.g. in Eastenders
                                  on street.                        cultural conflict in reaction to gay
                                                                    relationship of Sayid and Christian

Only Fools and Horses (sitcoms)   Working class traders who         Class – Del and Rodney have            Del – older brother, wheeler
                                  live in tower block in            different methods to try and           dealer known for selling dodgy
                                  Peckham. Originally shown         make money – Del through get           goods to make money. Uses
                                  1981 to 2000s (Christmas          rich quick schemes, Rodney –           famous catchphrases e.g. ‘lovely
                                  specials). Comic situations       through traditional means of           jubbly’
                                  result in Del’s dodgy goods       education                              Rodney – younger brother, often
                                  that he tries to sell and comic   Male relationships – Del brought       coerced into Del’s schemes
                                  trap of Rodney being unable       Rodney up after mum died so all        against better judgement. Wants
                                  to escape the family business.    male household until later             to escape class through
                                                                    episodes where they have               education.
                                                                    partners (Del – Racquel, Rodney –      Uncle Albert – fought in the war
                                                                    Cassandra)                             in the navy.
Shameless                         Working class Manchester          Class – Steve (Fiona’s boyfriend)      Frank – drunk, unable to care for
                                  family live on housing estate     middle class but makes money           himself or , yet loved by family all
                                  on outskirts of city. Dad,        through stealing cars and              the same
                                  Frank has several children        reselling them(Series 1)               Fiona – older sister but assumes
                       with different mothers (all        Conflict between Frank and            mother role in family. Looks after
                       who’ve left). Eldest daughter,     Steve- values to do with family       others. Develops relationship
                       Fiona looks after them all         Family – seems dysfunctional but      with Steve in Series 1 despite
                       (including Frank who’s seen        at same time loving – children are    resistance over his class.
                       as incompetent at looking          upset at Frank’s disappearance        Steve – middle class yet rejects
                       after rest of family including     (ep 2 when Steve dumps a              his background. Sees himself as
                       himself)                           drunken Frank in France!)             having better values than Frank
                                                                                                when it comes to caring for the
Benidorm               ITV current sitcom.Setting is      Class –working class seen as          Working class family – Mick,
                       hotel complex in Benidorm,         displaying stereotypical ‘chav’       Janice (parents), Madge (nan),
                       Spain – focused on different       behaviour yet at the same time in     and Chantelle and Michael
                       families/couples that stay         some ways celebrated more than        (children). Family argues a lot and
                       there                              middle classes who are seen as        children are rude (e.g. swear at
                       First episode mainly focused       miserable (young couple Martin        Nan) and naughty (son sets fire to
                       on working class northern          and Kate) and offensive and           magazine) yet still quite a
                       family – dysfunctional but still   shocking (‘swingers’ Donald and       traditional family.
                       united. End of first episode       Jacqueline)                           Geoff (the oracle) looks like a
                       teenage daughter (Chantelle)       Teen pregnancy                        stereotypical overweight English
                       goes into labour having kept                                             guy abroad. Yet interested in
                       pregnancy secret                                                         knowledge – quiz champion
All White in Barking   Documentary part of White          Race – different ethnicities living   Dave – racist, opinions based on
                       Season on BBC2 in 2008             in Barking                            fear and experience of his
                       examining effect of                Family                                daughter (abused by Nigerian
                       Immigration on white British       Racism – Dave’s opinions and          husband) Ends up moving to
                       people in areas of high            membership of BNP                     Canvey Island. Negative
                       immigration. Focuses on            Prejudice – displayed by Sue and      representation reinforced by
                       white british people(of a          Jeff although in some ways            mise-en-scene – grey low key
                       certain generation) and            challenged through the                lighting, depressing settings e.g.
                       recent immigrants in Barking,      documentary as they get to know       at end.
Essex.   their neighbours   Sue and Jeff – similar age to Dave
                            but through programme have
                            eyes opened to different cultures
                            e.g. going to Dickson’s house for
                            dinner. More willing to change
                            Dickson and family – Nigerian
                            Monty – Jewish, Polish holocaust
                            survivor. Suffered attack in UK for
                            being Jewish. Goes to reunion at
                            end – another Jewish man sums
                            up attitudes of many (Preferred
                            reading?) that ‘all people are
                            human’ and that they (Jewish)
                            have reason more than any to be
                            tolerant of others.
        The future of representations of British male working classes – more violent, more
        exaggerated, more crime, more multi ethnic representations, more old people bigger
        audience, their likes/dislikes, more fiction? What do you think and why?

                                                                                                    Recurring themes – no father figure, breakdown of family, angry young
                                                                                                    man/adolescence, rebellion, choosing right path, violence, drugs,
   Films/TV studied (see list) past and present                                                     growing up and realising what you want to do with your life, what does it
                                                                                                    mean to be British, happiness, multi ethnicity

Representations of the British male working class some useful
quotes                                                                              Collective
        The art cinema motivates its narratives by two principles: realism and                           Cultivation Theory, Desensitisation, moral panics, uses
         authorial expressivity. […] the art cinema defines itself as a realistic
         cinema. It will show us real locations […] and real problems […]’                                and gratifications, hypodermic needle
         (Bordwell 2002: 95)

         Hallam and Marshment 2000 discuss;
        Social realism is distinguished by the attention it pays to characters
         who usually figure as background presences in the generic mainstream,
         those marginalised by virtue of their social status

Jeffrey Richards in National Identity                                                            What you need to include in the essay – reps of working
A five year survey of the young published by Academia Europea, A
European academic think- tank, has uncovered a ‘substantial’ increase in
                                                                                                 class, past, present, future ideas, theories, TWO media.
psychosocial disorders among the young since the 1950s. The suicide                              Choose your texts wisely and use good comparisons for
rate among the young, particularly young males, has risen in Britain by                          analysis.
70% in the last twenty years. There has been a massive increase in
drugtaking and crime among the young – one in three young men under

Find quote Media creates or reflects society
What’s in store for future representations of British working class?
Four Lions satirising terrorists, improvisations, laughing at their stupidity, pushing boundaries
of acceptable narratives – (look up Brass Eye paedophile sketch)
Shane Meadows’Le Donk and Scor-zay-zee –

Film industry – 100 films made a year but the problem is DISTRIBUTION, competition with US,
digital films,
More money, greater British presence how can we differentiate from US films

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