Sociology Professor's Book Wins Award from American Library Association

Feb. 15, 2007

Media Contact: Julie Carlson, senior staff writer, (254) 710-6681

Framing Class: Media Representations of Wealth and Poverty in America, written by Baylor University sociology professor Diana Kendall, has been selected as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2006 by Choice magazine, the official publication of the American Library Association's College and Research Libraries Division. Kendall's book was selected as one of only 17 sociology books honored, out of more than 7,000 publications in all scholarly categories that are reviewed annually in Choice.

In awarding Outstanding Academic Title status, the editors of Choice looked at criteria that included overall excellence in presentation and scholarship; importance relative to other literature in the field; distinction as a first treatment of a given subject in book or electronic form; originality or uniqueness of treatment; value to undergraduate students; and importance in building undergraduate library collections.

Kendall says that although much has been written about media content in relation to race and gender, little research has explored media representations of class. Her interest in the subject developed on a personal level because her volunteer public relations work for organizations associated with the upper and middle-upper classes enabled her to interact with journalists who write about the "social elites."

"I became aware of the complex relationship between privileged people and the paid journalists who work on the political, business and philanthropy beats that cover elite activities," she said. "I noticed that for journalists to maintain their 'inner circle' access, they typically must be careful about what and how they write about the wealthy and powerful members of their communities."

In chapter one of Framing Class, Kendall writes, "My primary focus remains on how the media glorify the upper classes, even when they are accused of wrongdoing, but I also demonstrate how framing stories about middle, working and poverty classes may maintain and justify larger class-based inequalities in the United States."

Kendall received her doctorate from the University of Texas and began teaching at Baylor in 1997. Her research has focused on race, class and gender studies and the sociology of medicine. Other books authored by Kendall include Sociology in Our Times; Social Problems in a Diverse Society; Race, Class and Gender in a Diverse Society; and The Power of Good Deeds: Privileged Women and the Social Reproduction of the Upper Class. Her newest book, Member's Only: Elite Clubs and the Process of Exclusion, will be released later this year.

To contact Kendall, email her at Diana_Kendall@baylor.edu..

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