From riches to rags : Thematic analysis of Downshiftaajat

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Julkaisun nimi: From riches to rags : Thematic analysis of Downshiftaajat
Tekijä: Thure, Aino Salla Katariina
Muu tekijä: Helsingin yliopisto, Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta, Sosiaalitieteiden laitos
Julkaisija: Helsingfors universitet
Päiväys: 2017
Kieli: eng
Opinnäytteen taso: pro gradu -tutkielmat
Oppiaine: Viestintä
Media and Communication Studies
Medier och kommunikation
Tiivistelmä: The Finnish TV-series Downshiftaajat is a story of couple whose company goes bankrupt and they need to start a new life. The couple moves to a suburb and tries to hide their money troubles by telling everyone that they are downshifting. The story then follows the couple’s balancing act in between their old and new lives: keeping up appearances and while working to find new work. In this thesis, I examine class constructs in Downshiftaajat. Social hierarchies and classes are not always very visible in societies. According to contemporary class research, class is made up of multiple elements, such as job, taste, wages, and hobbies. Skeggs writes of how when certain symbols are inscribed onto different groups of things, characters or physical object, these symbols then became markers of the group to which that object belongs. Bourdieu and Wright gives additional insights into classes, first from the perspective of style and the latter from a more economical way. Alain De Botton explains how and why humans behave in groups. This research was conducted using thematic analysis as a method. Thematic analysis is a method for finding repetitive patterns in data and then organising these patterns in hierarchical order. After watching the series closely, I made memos about the events and dialogue in the show. These memos I then turned into more detailed sections I call descriptions. These descriptions I organised under five main headings: infrastructure, morality, money, style, and behaviour. The results of the analysis showed that Downshiftaajat constructs class by representing things in the suburb, such as buildings, trains, and neighbours as distant form the main characters. Class also informs the morals of characters: the morality of the main characters are usually depicted as having higher standards than other characters’ morality. Money contributes to the construction of class in the dialogues between the main characters concerning the lack of it. Style is also used to construct class by giving examples of brands that the main characters prefer over other brands. Class is also depicted by means of behaviour: people from different classes behave differently and have different eating habits. The series does not explicitly criticise how Finnish society treats its unemployed. It does, however, reflect contemporary Finnish unemployment policies, where the sole responsibility for finding work and managing one’s life is placed on individuals.
Avainsanat: television comedy
social class
television drama


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