Taking out the trash: Using critical autoethnography to challenge representations of white working-class people in popular culture. Article (Faculty180)

cited authors

  • Dunn, Tasha Rose


  • This essay focuses on the tension between mediated representations and lived experiences of white working-class people. At the root of this tension is the recognition that mediated representations of white working-class people do not adequately capture the complexity of their lived experiences. With this in mind, I use critical autoethnography to share personal experiences of white working-class people that challenge the one-dimensional “white trash” caricatures which flood popular culture. What emerges through this process is a more comprehensive mode of inquiry, one that evocatively challenges the essentialism and ridicule that permeates the media sites in which white working-class people are featured as well as highlights the complexity and immobility that pervades their everyday lives. In short, by using critical autoethnography, I am able to dig deeper into and remove the “trash” of “white trash.”

publication date

  • 2015

published in

start page

  • 349

end page

  • 363


  • 3