Journal of Class & Culture (Special Issue: ‘Class and Contemporary UK Film and Television’)

Call for Papers: Journal of Class & Culture

Special Issue: ‘Class and Contemporary UK Film and Television’

Deadline for submission: 17 March 2023

Expected publication: October 2023

The Journal of Class & Culture is a peer-reviewed journal bringing a cultural dimension to the analysis of class, and a class optic to the understanding of culture. This Special Issue follows on from a conference in July and focuses on class and contemporary UK film and television. Papers are invited that explore the intersection of capital, contemporary UK film and TV, and class-orientated research within contexts of production, formal qualities and consumption.

Contemporary film and TV in the UK appear to offer at least three interrelated problems for the lower socio-economic classes. There is imbalance, exploitation and precarity in the industry; perennial problems around representation; and the inculcation of neo-liberal ideology antithetical to social justice and equality. How might contemporary UK film/TV contribute to economic inequality, precarity, power and structural imbalance, or foster divide and rule, reconciling audiences to neo-liberal competition within myths of meritocracy? How might UK film/TV negotiate, consolidate, challenge or reflect the neo-liberal moment regarding social class and economic injustice? How might UK film/TV navigate, caricature, essentialize, contain and regulate class, or otherwise problematize, provide critique and nuance, and a progressive vision?

Topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • representations, receptions and theorizations of class in
    contemporary UK film/TV
  • the mediatory role of UK film/TV in notions of taste, the
    maintenance of distinction, mobility, class consciousness, economic
    capital, cultural capital and social capital
  • the relevance of class in film and TV studies, textual and genre
    analysis, production history, and the analysis of ideology/hegemony
  • ‘the class ceiling’ and precarious practices in the screen industries
  • genres: ‘poverty/property porn’, the ‘hoodie film’, manor house nostalgia, etc.
  • necessary intersections with disability, ecology, ethnicity, gender, national identity, neurodiversity, region, religion, and so on
  • problematic masculinity and myths of authenticity
  • the entrepreneurial nature, self-management and consumerism of the neo-liberal subject in programmes such as The Apprentice, reality TV and ‘improvement/transformation’ shows
  • neo-liberal (or post-neo-liberal – neo-illiberalism, new authoritarianism, surveillance capitalism, and so forth) reconfigurations of time/space/control
  • documenting and dividing class (the now notorious Benefits Street and its ilk), and ‘newsworthy’ class
  • the work of pertinent professionals, actors or directors such as Andrea Arnold, Jimmy McGovern, Shane Meadows, Ken Loach, Steve McQueen and others

The journal recognizes that culture is inextricably tied into state apparatuses and power structures and the dynamics of capitalism. It recognizes that class is a contested concept, formulated and understood in different ways, but it insists that such debates are worth having because class relations urgently need to be understood, critiqued and changed.

Any queries please contact the special issue editors Deirdre O’Neill ( and Jon Baldwin (