The term underclass is widely used in sociology, but definitions of what it consists of differ. In the chapter we wish to examine how underclass(es) and the way they supposedly behave are represented in a number of English-language press outlets, of differing political persuasions, in various countries, including the USA, UK, India, Hong Kong and China. The term itself has highly negative evaluative connotations. It is a class - or classes - which should not exist. But if whoever uses the term believes that it - or they - do exist, who is considered to be responsible? Are the same social actors blamed in different societies and by political voices from different political standpoints? There is some preliminary evidence to suggest that, in western newspapers at least, the term is ‘weaponised’, one political side accuses the other of having created an underclass by its negative or negligent policies. In another example, the Chinese authorities are criticized for having created the hukou an ‘underclass’ of migrant workers (South China Morning Post). The corpora employed in the study will include newspaper comment pieces from 2010-2016 which treat the topic of underclasses, do

corpus-assisted discourse study of representations of the underclass in the English-language press: who are they? how do they behave and who is responsible for them?

Jane Helen Johnson
;
Alan Partington
2018

Abstract

The term underclass is widely used in sociology, but definitions of what it consists of differ. In the chapter we wish to examine how underclass(es) and the way they supposedly behave are represented in a number of English-language press outlets, of differing political persuasions, in various countries, including the USA, UK, India, Hong Kong and China. The term itself has highly negative evaluative connotations. It is a class - or classes - which should not exist. But if whoever uses the term believes that it - or they - do exist, who is considered to be responsible? Are the same social actors blamed in different societies and by political voices from different political standpoints? There is some preliminary evidence to suggest that, in western newspapers at least, the term is ‘weaponised’, one political side accuses the other of having created an underclass by its negative or negligent policies. In another example, the Chinese authorities are criticized for having created the hukou an ‘underclass’ of migrant workers (South China Morning Post). The corpora employed in the study will include newspaper comment pieces from 2010-2016 which treat the topic of underclasses, do
studies in corpus-based socio-linguistics
293
318
Johnson, JANE HELEN; Partington, ALAN SCOTT
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/614805
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