In this article, we explore how people differ in interpreting members of their own and other social classes as portrayed in reality television. Using in-depth interviews, participants from three social classes watched video fragments showing people belonging to four social classes. The results indicate that we can distinguish four specific ways of interpreting, namely tolerance, distancing, practical, and identifying. These ways of interpreting are characteristic for the social classes of the viewers and differ in the extent in which they build on identity, distancing, openness, and stereotyping. The differences point towards an important but ambiguous role played by openness within the cultural elite, a strong class-consciousness shown by the economic elite, and a general importance of cultural and economic capital.

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Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC)

Noordzij, K., van Eijck, K., & Berkers, P. (2016). “Ik ben niet zo rijk, misschien wel gelukkiger”. Sociologie, 12(3), 249–274. doi:10.5117/SOC2016.3.NOOR