Meghji Ali

2 Towards a triangle of Black middle-class identity S ociologists are often committed to the view that identity is ‘restless, fickle and irresolute’.1 Contrastingly, the very reason that ‘race’ (and particularly ‘Blackness’) was brought into existence was to deny human difference to certain people. 2 As critical social scientists, therefore, we must walk a tightrope between appreciating that individuals are individuals while also appreciating that systems of domination often aim to homogenise people into restrictive categories. One way that sociologists

in Black middle class Britannia
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Punk, politics and resistance

The Subcultures Network is a cross-disciplinary research network for scholars and students interested in the relationship between subcultures (in all their forms) and wider processes of social, cultural and political change. Bringing together theoretical analyses, empirical studies and methodological discussions, the network is designed to explore the relationships between subcultures and their historical context, and the place of subcultures within patterns of cultural and political change. This book is very much a product of the Network's brief and emerged, in large part, from the inaugural symposium held at London Metropolitan University in September 2011. The book is divided into three parts, each with a broadly defined theme. The first of these relates to punk and identity, particularly with regard to gender, class, age and race. The second part looks at punk's relationship to locality and space. In particular, it deals with two overlapping processes. First, the ways in which punk's transmission allowed for diverse interpretation and utilisation of the cultural form beyond local, regional and national boundaries. Second, the extent to which punk's aesthetic and expression was shaped by, inspired and reflected the environments in which its protagonists lived. The third and final part concentrates on communication and reception. From within the culture, the language of punk is brought under discursive analysis by Melani Schröter, who looks at the critiques of 'normality' contained within the lyrics of German punk bands from the late 1970s through to the present day.

Crafting a study on Britain’s Black middle class
Meghji Ali

of colour-blindness Presently, we have a limited understanding of how racism shapes middle-class identity and culture. Social classes, including the middle class, exist twice: first as statistical clusters, measured by the distribution of material (and mostly economic) resources, and second as practical groups that must be made through symbolic struggles, cultural practices, and group identification.3 In other words, social classes do not just exist a priori and ‘out there’ with purely objective contours. Rather, social classes have both social boundaries (measured

in Black middle class Britannia
Identities, repertoires, cultural consumption
Author: Meghji Ali

This book analyses how racism and anti-racism influence Black British middle-class cultural consumption. In doing so, this book challenges the dominant understanding of British middle-class identity and culture as being ‘beyond race’.

Paying attention to the relationship between cultural capital and cultural repertoires, this book puts forward the idea that there are three black middle-class identity modes: strategic assimilation, class-minded, and ethnoracial autonomous. People towards each of these identity modes use specific cultural repertoires to organise their cultural consumption. Those towards strategic assimilation draw on repertoires of code-switching and cultural equity, consuming traditional middle-class culture to maintain an equality with the White middle class in levels of cultural capital. Ethnoracial autonomous individuals draw on repertoires of browning and Afro-centrism, removing themselves from traditional middle-class cultural pursuits they decode as ‘Eurocentric’, while showing a preference for cultural forms that uplift Black diasporic histories and cultures. Lastly, those towards the class-minded identity mode draw on repertoires of post-racialism and de-racialisation. Such individuals polarise between ‘Black’ and middle-class cultural forms, display an unequivocal preference for the latter, and lambast other Black people who avoid middle-class culture as being culturally myopic or culturally uncultivated.

This book will appeal to sociology students, researchers, and academics working on race and class, critical race theory, and cultural sociology, among other social science disciplines.

The milieu culture of DIY punk
Peter Webb

5 Crass, subculture and class: the milieu culture of DIY punk Peter Webb This chapter presents an account of the activities and social formation of the DIY punk band Crass in order to develop a critique of the notion of ‘subculture’ employed at the time of the group’s existence (1977–85) by the Birmingham University Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS). It supplies a narrative of how the band and the cultural movement known as `anarchopunk’ provided a ‘milieu’ where class identities could blend and develop hybrid forms of cultural and social capital.1

in Fight back
Middle-class identity and documentary film
Thomas Austin

5 Approaching the invisible centre: middle-class identity and documentary film So far in this book I have considered various engagements with screen documentary made by viewers other than myself. In this chapter I turn attention to some of my own responses to documentary films, and explore how my identity, particularly its middleclass aspect, has shaped these reactions. The purpose behind this move is not to wallow in narcissism, nor to ‘restore’ a middleclass, white and male subjectivity to the centre stage of film and media studies – if it has ever been truly

in Watching the world
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Megan Smitley

agitation for social and political reform, to express Christian service at a time when women were barred from clerical roles and to organise within influential and highly systematised middle-class women’s networks. This investigation of women’s participation in associationalism and civic life seeks to provide a fresh approach to the ‘public sphere’ in order to illuminate women as agents of a middle-class identity and to develop the notion of a ‘feminine public sphere’, or the web of associations, institutions and discourses used by disenfranchised middle-class women to

in The feminine public sphere
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Jobs, families, mobilities and social identities
Ben Jones

which “widely shared categorizations such as rough/respectable, undeserving/ deserving and unreliable/reliable” influence “processes of identification . . . [and] have material consequences.” ’2 While this chapter emphasises the salience of class identities, it is apparent that these identifications are contingent, fluid and sometimes ambivalent. The experience of and meanings attached to class change for individuals across their lives in relation to historically shifting formations of class within cultures. In the second part of this chapter I build upon recent work

in The working class in mid-twentieth-century England
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Richard Jobson

Jonathan Powell, who became Blair’s Chief of Staff in 1994, would later describe how the rewording of Clause IV had committed Labour to a new agenda ‘rather than to some shibboleth of the past’.21 New Labour argued that Old Labour had held a traditional industrial working-class identity that had become outdated during the postwar era. It suggested that, since the 1950s, structural changes in the British economy had rendered the traditional industrial working class less numerous, less representative of the population as a whole and less politically significant.22 Blair

in Nostalgia and the post-war Labour Party
Guy Austin

mobilizations of 1995 which signalled a change of the socio-political climate in France, and which created the conditions for the rebirth of a committed cinema and for subsequent mobilizations such as that around the sans-papiers ’ (O’Shaugnessy 2003 : 189; see also below). Mobilisation however could not disguise the fact that the erosion of class identities and of Marxism during the nineties had left many of the

in Contemporary French cinema