“All You Need Are Looks and a Whole Lot of Money”: Selling Wealthy America to the World-and to Americans

By Amber Gray.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The concept of the American Dream represents the idea that, with hard work and perseverance, everyone can be a millionaire. Looking at American entertainment (non-news) television, one might think everyone in the United States is already a millionaire. Although poverty has often been underrepresented in American television, the glamorization of the wealthy and the growing lack of realism associated with television portrayals of working people have led to widening gaps in reality between the current socioeconomic situation in the United States and its television portrayal. If we consider Foucault’s assertion that discourse constructs the topic, what does it mean that American entertainment television speaks primarily about the wealthy and has little discourse about poverty or poor people? This paper will examine the increase in representation of wealth on American entertainment television, as well as the limited number of portrayals of poor and working-class people and the frequent negative tone of such portrayals.

Keywords: Poverty, Wealth, Discourse, Television

Global Studies Journal, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp.87-92. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 525.237KB).

Amber Gray

Department of Communication Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA


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