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Morgan Keschl '13 presents her work at LVAIC Conference

Morgan Keschl '13, senior Communications major and Bath, PA native, will be presenting her senior thesis, We've been Framed! Framing Theory, Ancient Philosophy, and Working Class Representation in Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, at the annual LVAIC Social Research Social Justice (SRSJ) Conference at Muhlenberg College on April 5, 2013.

Morgan Keschl '13
photo by Elizabeth Ortiz

Despite the oddity of bringing in ancient philosophy with modern media images, Keschl's research will explore the first season of reality TV show Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and the portrayals of its working class subjects. She will also discuss Aristotle's Golden Mean, a philosophy viewpoint about moderation being better than extremes, in relation to the extent of how to portray people on TV (i.e. stereotypes).

Keschl is motivated by her own experiences coming from a working class family in studying this topic.

"It is important to look at media images of the working class, because how people view us affects how we feel about ourselves. By analyzing these images, I can begin to understand where people develop their negative stereotypes of the working class and ideally contribute to changing these perceptions."

In 2012, the working class comprised 63% of Americans, according to Michael Zweig, author of The Working Class Majority: America's Best Kept Secret. However, despite the majority of America being in this socioeconomic group, only a handful of current TV portrayals feature a working class character, and even less feature a character without a problematic image. Through Keschl's work in media studies, there will be yet another eye on media images to move toward just portrayals.

As an added element of her paper, Keschl will also tie framing theory into her paper, with a focus on how the brain recalls messages in media and retains information, such as stereotypes about others in mass media. A history of reality TV, and specifically the working class in reality TV, is another added interest point.

Keschl's paper is an extension of her research interest within communication studies of working class images in media. During her sophomore year, Keschl presented at SRSJ with a paper that compared working class representation in The Honeymooners with The King of Queens to see if blue-collar stereotypes were consistent over the shows 50-year gap.

She will also present on March 21 at 4 p.m. in Cedar Crest College's Multicultural Center and at the end of the semester during the Communication Department's Defense Day.

You may contact Morgan Keschl via email at mlkeschl@cedarcrest.edu for more information about her research. For additional information about the SRSJ Conference, visit http://www.muhlenberg.edu/main/academics/mediacom/SRSJ/ .