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Title: Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief : pre- and post-crisis discourses of poverty, wealth, income inequality and the squeezed middle-class on U.K. television news
Author: Thomas, Richard
ISNI:       0000 0004 6057 8728
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2016
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Post financial crisis, economic and business news has generated conflicting narratives where, for example, bankers and corporate executives enjoy large salaries while ordinary people find their lifestyles under increasing pressure. Accordingly, the issues of income inequality, wealth and poverty have attracted increased scholarly attention. Citizens make sense of such issues via the media, and most often via TV news which is still the U.K’s primary news provider. Given that U.K broadcast media are bound by public service obligations, the intellectual puzzle addressed here is whether either side of the financial crisis (2007 and 2014), two TV news providers (BBC1 and ITV1) address financial news generally, and income inequality more specifically, in ways that serve all citizens. Large-scale content analyses are used to identify recurrent themes within economic, business and financial news, and stories containing elements of income inequality, poverty, wealth and the “squeezed middle”. To further explore how these issues are covered, typical cases are developed using critical discourse and multimodal analyses. The study finds that while economic and business news has increased and has been partially redefined by the crisis, income inequality is covered less in 2014 than in 2007, and since it is embedded within various news stories, the issue is not covered in ways helping citizens to make sense of causes and consequences. Despite indicators that “trickle down” economics is broken and that wealth remains concentrated among a few, even post-crisis, economic growth is presented as a universal solution to ease discomfort and inequality. Although coverage of business actors and corporations is often critical, the wider model of capitalism within which they operate remains unchallenged. In conclusion, despite the seismic financial events and normative expectations that they should discuss issues of social significance, because of institutional, economic and historic causal mechanisms, these channels do not provide any such critique.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: H Social Sciences (General)