Class: jobs, families, mobilities and
This chapter explores class identifications in England since the 1940s. As
such, it is primarily about the ways in which people experience class, the
economic, social and cultural processes which shape individual subjectivities, and the extent to which these mould social identities. As suggested in
the introduction, social identifications are understood as a relational: they are
both about how one defines oneself in relation to others and about how one
is categorised by other individuals, groups
Increased concern for the welfare of the working classes is one dominant
motif of political debate in the mid-nineteenth century with which the organisers of the Great Exhibition could not avoid engaging. In The Condition of
the Working Class in England in 1844 (1845), Friedrich Engels wrote about
the impoverished and demoralised state of provincial workers that he had
witnessed first hand, famously proclaiming, ‘Thus are the workers cast out
and ignored by the class in power, morally as well as physically and mentally’ (p. 144). In 1842, Edwin
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.
This book explores the class experiences of white workers in Southern Rhodesia. Interest in white identity, power and privilege has grown since struggles over white land ownership in Zimbabwe in the early 2000s, yet research has predominately focused on middle-class and rural whites. By critically building upon whiteness literature developed in the United States and synthesising theories of race, class and gender within a critical Marxist framework, this book considers the ways in which racial supremacy and white identity were forged and contested by lower-class whites. It demonstrates how settler anxieties over hegemonic notions of white femininity and masculinity, white poverty, Coloureds, Africans and ‘undesirable’ non-British whites were rooted in class experience and significantly contributed to dominant white worker political ideologies and self-understandings. Based on original research conducted in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Zimbabwe, this book also explores how white workers used notions of ‘white work’ and white ‘standards of living’ to mark out racial boundaries. In doing so the author demonstrates how the worlds of work were embedded in the production of social identities and structural inequalities as well as how class interacted and intersected with other identities and oppressions. This book will be of interest to undergraduates and academics of gender, labour, race and class in African and imperial and colonial history, the history of emotions and settler colonial studies.
This book reflects upon the wide range of Chris Wrigley's research and publications in the study of the various aspects of British labour history. It presents a set of themes revolving around the British labour movement and the lives of those connected with it. The book begins with a discussion on biography in the shape of George Howell's work on trade unions and presents Herbert Gladstone's view that the unions emerged from the medieval workers guilds. Chris was also interested in political figures connected with progressivism and the labour movement, which is reflected in the examination of Gladstone's role in the Liberal Party. There is an examination of the Co-operative Party in the north-east of England, the 1911 National Insurance Act, and the relationship between the unions and the Labour Party. The inter-war British labour politics is covered by the disaffiliation of the Independent Labour Party (ILP) from the Labour Party and by a study of the Progressive League. British and German working class lives are compared in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Female trade unionism is dealt with a focus on Association of Women Clerks and Secretaries (AWCS). The contribution of the Lansburys is brought by an essay on the role of the family members in working-class politics, including women's enfranchisement. The book also deals with the attempt by the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) to engage with punk music, and ends with a discussion on the theme of Labour disunity.
This book focuses on the role of class in the encounter between South Asians and British institutions in the United Kingdom at the height of British imperialism. The leaders of Britain's cricketing institutions recognised the validity of ranks in an Indian social hierarchy which they attempted to translate into British equivalents. Achievement of Kumar Shri Ranjitsinjhi, one of the greatest cricketers of all time was truly an imperial one, combining the cultures and societies of India and Britain to propel him to a prominence that he would not otherwise have attained. The most important government institution to interact with Indians in Britain was the India Office. The National Indian Association was the most popular forum for interaction among Indians in Britain and Britons interested in India. The London City Mission and the Strangers' Home for Asiatics were the prominent inner-city missions to reach out to Indians in London. The book explores the extent to which British institutions treated Indians as British subjects, sharing a common legal and imperial identity with the inhabitants of the British Isles. It identifies patterns of compassion among Britain's elite when interacting with needy Indians in the United Kingdom, and establishes the central role of education in the civilising mission, particularly through scholarships to study in Britain. The book focuses on the ambiguous responses of British institutions to Indian students in the United Kingdom, ranging from accommodation of Indian culture to acquiescence in British bigotry.
A scribble of ribbon winds over a grid (Figure 2.1). The axes are numbered, clearly intended to identify the spaces of the grid and thus to
locate the ribbon precisely. The handwritten notes along the sides of
the grid explain that the drawing is a “spatial-chronometric” notation
of the scene – a plan of movement across the stage, with approximate
timing. The drawing graphs the movement of two entities, marked “S”
and “B,” along with the time when they cross particular points. Although
the author of this graph is
This book examines how the working-class people are portrayed in the British cinema. One objective of this work is to take a modest step in redressing the balance by considering the popularity of the films discussed. A second objective is to demonstrate how film might be used by disciplines whose practitioners often display scant interest in its possibilities. The third objective is to consider what films can contribute to the debate on the consequences of war. A final objective is to test received opinion. The book discusses a five-dimensional model for examining images of the working class in films. These are: place in the authority structure; cohesion/fragmentation within the working-class community; internalised values; the built environment; and personal signifiers of class, notably speech, hairstyles and clothing. It deals with the war films that were made in the context working class community, and discusses The Way to the Stars, The Hasty Heart, and Wooden Horse. With the approach of war in the late 1930s, changes in censorship allowed industrial disputes to be portrayed on British screens for the first time. The working class community was portrayed in It Always Rains on Sunday to better effect as compared to Passport to Pímlíco. Three groups of criminals make regular appearances in postwar British films: spivs, who are black market traders; those have served in the forces; and career criminals. The book also deals with several British films in the postwar years focusing on dance hall, namely, Floodtide, Waterloo Road, and Dance Hall.
The idea of Brighton as a hot-bed of radical class-consciousness in inter-war Britain is an unconventional one. That the dominant images of working class England in the middle years of the twentieth century are 'northern' or metropolitan is thanks to a flowering of community and cultural studies for which the research of Mass Observation provided important antecedents. This book argues that a consideration of Richard Hoggart's critics allows us to open up an important set of questions for discussion. It commences with an exploration of class identifications in England since the 1940s. The experience of and meanings attached to class change for individuals across their lives in relation to historically shifting formations of class within cultures. The book then focuses on the twin modernising forces which reshaped working class neighbourhoods in the period between the 1920s and the mid-1970s: slum clearance and council housing. It explores the ways in which people's senses of belonging to and identification with particular neighbourhoods were formed. Conflicts over the transgression of neighbourhood norms regarding acceptable behaviour, arguments over children's noise, over help which went unreciprocated, debts which went unpaid and domestic or intra-family violence were also a feature of neighbourhood life. Through the contested, multivalent remembered experiences of past communities, the complex, relational construction of social memories can be seen. The book also explores the dynamics of working class household economies and examines the continuities which existed between the modern council estates and older districts in terms of cultures of economic and emotional resourcefulness.
This book explores the intimate relationship between literature and class in England (and later Britain) from the Peasants’ Revolt at the end of the fourteenth century to the impact of the French Revolution at the end of the eighteenth century and beginning of the nineteenth. It demonstrates how literary texts are determined by class relations and how they represent the interaction of classes in profound and apparently trivial ways. The book argues throughout that class cannot be seen as a modern phenomenon that occurred after the Industrial Revolution but that class divisions and relations have always structured societies and that it makes sense to assume a historical continuity. The book explores a number of themes relating to class: class consciousness; class conflict; commercialization; servitude; the relationship between agrarian and urban society; rebellion; gender relations; and colonization. After outlining the history of class relations in England and, after the union of 1707, Scotland, five chapters explore the ways in which social class consciously and unconsciously influenced a series of writers including Geoffrey Chaucer, William Langland, Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, John Taylor, Robert Herrick, Aphra Behn, John Wilmot, earl of Rochester, Daniel Defoe, Stephen Duck, Mary Collier, Frances Burney, Robert Burns, William Blake and William Wordsworth. The book concludes with Percy Bysshe Shelley’s An Address to the Irish People (1812), pointing to the need to explore class relations in the context of the British Isles and Ireland, as well as the British Empire, which a future work will analyse.