1st Edition

The Media and Inequality

Edited By Steve Schifferes, Sophie Knowles Copyright 2023
    264 Pages 36 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book brings together a vast range of pre-eminent experts, academics, and practitioners to interrogate the role of media in representing economic inequality. It explores and deconstructs the concept of economic inequality by examining the different dimensions of inequality and how it has evolved historically; how it has been represented and portrayed in the media; and how, in turn, those representations have informed the public’s knowledge of and attitudes towards poverty, class and welfare, and political discourse.

    Taking a multi-disciplinary, comparative, and historical approach, and using a variety of new and original data sets to inform the research, studies herein examine the relationship between media and inequality in UK, Western Europe, and USA. In addition to generating new knowledge and research agendas, the book generates suggestions of ways to improve news coverage on this topic and raise the level of the debate, and will improve understanding about economic inequality, as it has evolved, and as it continues to develop in academic, political and media discourses.

    This book will be of interest to academics and practitioners alike in the areas of journalism, media studies, economics, and the social sciences, as well as political commentators and those interested more broadly in social policy.

    List of Figures and Tables
    Notes on Contributors

    Remembering John Hills
    Howard Glennerster

    Introduction: The Media and Inequality
    Steve Schifferes and Sophie Knowles

    Part I: Understanding Inequality

    1. Flat-lining or Seething Beneath the Surface? Two Decades of Changing Economic Inequality in the UK
    Polina Obolenskaya and John Hills

    2. Wealth Inequality in the UK
    Carys Roberts

    3. The Decline of Social Mobility
    Duncan Exley

    4. Racial Economic Inequality: The Visible Tip of an Inequality Iceberg?
    Kurt Barling

    5. Home Ownership: The Key to Inequality?
    Pirmin Fessler and Martin Schürz

    Part II: Framing Poverty and Inequality

    6. Poverty and the Media: Poverty Myths and Exclusion in the Information Society
    Peter Golding

    7. The Rhetoric of Recession: How British Newspapers Talk About the Poor When Unemployment Rises
    Aaron Reeves and Dan McArthur

    8. Factual Television in the UK: The Rich, the Poor and Inequality
    Jo Mack

    9. Issue Attention to Income Inequality in the UK and US Print Media
    Martin Bauer, Patrick McGovern, and Sandra Obradovic

    10. Comparative Trends in the Portrayal of Poverty and Inequality
    Jairo Lugo-Ocando and Brendon Lawson

    Part III: Public Opinion, Inequality, and the Media

    11. Public Attitudes to Poverty and Inequality
    Elizabeth Clery

    12. Debating Inequality: The Case of Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century
    Andrea Grisold and Hendrik Theine

    13. The Media and Austerity
    Mike Berry

    14. Covid, Inequality and the Media
    Steve Schifferes and Sophie Knowles

    15. Stuck in a Feedback Loop: Why More Inequality Leads to Lower Levels of Concern
    Jonathan Mijs


    Steve Schifferes is currently Honorary Research Fellow at City University London’s Political Economy Research Centre (CityPERC) in the UK, where he was the Marjorie Deane Professor of Financial Journalism from 2009 to 2017. He has lectured widely on the global financial crisis and is the co-editor of two volumes, The Media and Financial Crises (2015), and The Media and Austerity (Routledge, 2018). He reported on economics and business for BBC News from 1989 to 2009.

    Sophie Knowles is Senior Lecturer in Journalism at Middlesex University, UK. She has written widely on the media’s role in the global financial crisis. She co-edited The Media and Austerity: Comparative Perspectives (Routledge, 2018). Her new book, The Mediation of Financial Crises: Watchdogs, Lapdogs or Canaries in the Coal Mine, was published in 2020.