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Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Owen Jones

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268742,397 (3.81)11
Member:outside-jane
Title:Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class
Authors:Owen Jones
Info:Verso Books (2012), Edition: 2nd Revised edition, Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:2012, Your library
Rating:***
Tags:politics, chavs, class system, thatcher, unions, miners, britain, england, predjudice

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Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class by Owen Jones (2011)

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Well researched and aligned with my own political views, but 100 pages in I felt defeated. Yes, the working class is demonised. So what do we do about it? I couldn't struggle through the last half of the book to find out whether the author had any proposed course of action. ( )
  jennpb | Apr 13, 2016 |
A polemic that wears its leftwing politics unashamedly (and largely legitimately) on its sleeve. This is a solid review of the excesses of Thatcherism, how gravely it damaged working-class culture in the 1980s, and its upshot in Britain today - where a working-class rump has gone from being viewed as 'salt of the earth' to 'scum of the earth'. Some discussion of globalisation would have been useful (after all, Thatcher's economic policies and smashing of the trade unions didn't take place in a national vacuum), but overall this is a fairly convincing read. ( )
  Panopticon2 | Oct 5, 2014 |
I really enjoyed reading this thought-provoking book about discourses about working-class people and issues that they in particular face in British politics and media. I think it would have been even better if it had spent some time right at the beginning to discuss the range of meanings that the term "working class" has and how those might have shifted over time. ( )
  mari_reads | Oct 26, 2013 |
I think that this is a really important book. It explained to me how & why Labour has, to my mind, lost its way and how many of the problems we now have are still the legacy of Thatcherism. Reading it was like having the lens on our society cleaned. ( )
  awomanonabike | Oct 8, 2013 |
An outstanding read that isn't at its heart about chavs at all. During my visit to Manchester and Liverpool, I could observe, to my horror, the strange customs and dress code of the British working/under class. In contrast to Orwell's Road to Wigan Pier, the working class is no longer invisible in the street. They even have reality TV show vehicles like "Geordie Shore" to beam their behaviors across the globe. In contrast to their visibility in life and in the media, politics is ignoring this lost generation completely.

Jones' claims that this is the consequence of the Thatcher revolution which broke the trade unions and conquered the mind of New Labour. Politics has ceased competing for working class votes. The working class which still accounts for over 50 percent of all jobs has answered by not voting at all (the so-called sofa option) or voting for protest candidates (who usually are ineffective and do not last long in politics). Owen's description of the English political landscape is smart and the absence of a nutty left to balance the nutty right a misfortune for sound governance. Between Tories, Lib-Dems and Labour, English voters are offered three flavors that may taste a bit different but contain much the same ingredients and perform whatever the City of London demands. No wonder that the areas that profit least from such politics such as Wales and Scotland increasingly seek to go their own way. I hope that the author will present a follow-up book soon. ( )
  jcbrunner | Feb 28, 2013 |
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Owen Jonesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jáuregui, ÍñigoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 184467696X, Paperback)

A compelling investigation into the myth and reality of working-class life in contemporary Britain.

In modern Britain, the working class has become an object of fear and ridicule. From Little Britain’s Vicky Pollard to the demonization of Jade Goody, media and politicians alike dismiss as feckless, criminalized and ignorant a vast, underprivileged swathe of society whose members have become stereotyped by one, hate-filled word: chavs.

In this groundbreaking investigation, Owen Jones explores how the working class has gone from “salt of the earth” to “scum of the earth.” Exposing the ignorance and prejudice at the heart of the chav caricature, one based on the media’s inexhaustible obsession with an indigent white underclass, he portrays a far more complex reality. Moving through Westminster’s lobbies and working-class communities from Dagenham to Dewsbury Moor, Jones reveals the increasing poverty and desperation of communities made precarious by wrenching social and industrial change, and all but abandoned by the aspirational, society-fragmenting policies of Thatcherism and New Labour. The chav stereotype, he argues, is used by governments as a convenient figleaf to avoid genuine engagement with social and economic problems, and to justify widening inequality.

Based on a wealth of original research, and wide-ranging interviews with media figures, political opinion-formers and workers, Chavs is a damning indictment of the media and political establishment, and an illuminating, disturbing portrait of inequality and class hatred in modern Britain.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:14 -0400)

In this ground-breaking investigation, Owen Jones explores how the working class has gone from 'salt of the earth' to 'scum of the earth'. It is a disturbing portrait of inequality and class hatred in modern Britain.

(summary from another edition)

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