Chavs: the demonization of the working class. [Owen Jones] -- In modern Britain, the working class has become an object of fear and ridicule. From Little. 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. In this groundbreaking investigation, Owen Jones explores how the working class has gone from “salt of the earth” to “scum of the earth.
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Bestselling investigation into the myth and reality of working-class life in contemporary Britain In modern Britain, the working class has become. Editorial Reviews. Review. “A passionate and well-documented denunciation of the wm-greece.info: Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class eBook: Owen Jones: Kindle Store. Read "Chavs The Demonization of the Working Class" by Owen Jones available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get £3 off your first download. In modern.
It is no surprise that, when asked if so-called chavs were getting a hard time in Britain, his response was blunt: 'NO, they deserve it.
Describing it as 'one of the most popular classes we have ever run,' he claimed that: 'Most people related to it and enjoyed it. A few of the PC brigade were offended by it. Sexism, racism and homophobia, 'completely unacceptable'. An extremely successful businessman, Richard Hilton has tapped into the fear and loathing felt by some middle-class Londoners towards the lower orders.
It is a compelling image: sweating City bankers taking out their recession-induced frustrations on semi-bestial poor kids. Welcome to Gymbox, where class war meets personal fitness. It is easy to gasp at Hilton's unembarrassed hatred, but he has crudely painted a widespread middle-class image of the working-class teenager. And, of course, these chavs are not isolated elements: they are, after all, regarded as 'pillars of strength inthe community'.
Gymbox isn't the only British company to have exploited middleclass horror of large swathes of working-class Britain. Oh, but chavs need not apply. In January , the company sent a promotional email to the 24, people on its database, quoting a Daily Mail article from showing that children with 'middle-class' names were eight times more likely to pass their GCSEs than those with names like 'Wayne and Dwayne'.
The findings had led them to wonder what sort of names were likely to be found on an Activities Abroad trip. So, the team had a trawl through their database and came up with two lists: one of names you were 'likely to encounter' on one of their holidays, and one of those you were not.
They concluded that they could legitimately promise 'Chav-Free Activity Holidays'. Again, not everyone was amused-but the company was unrepentant. It proved to be an overwhelming success with our client base.
Gymbox and Activities Abroad had taken slightly different angles. Gymbox were tapping into middle-class fears that their social inferiors were a violent mob, waiting to knife them to death in some dark alley. Activities Abroad exploited resentment against the cheap flights which allowed working-class people to 'invade' the middle-class space of the foreign holiday.
But both of them were evidence of just how mainstream middle-class hatred of working-class people is in modem Britain. Chav-bashing has become a way of making money because it strikes a chord. This becomes still more obvious when an unrepresentative story in the headlines is used as a convenient hook to 'prove' the anti-chav narrative. When ex-convict Raoul Moat went on the run after shooting dead his ex-lover's partner in July , he became an anti-hero for a minor- ity of some of the country's most marginalized workingclass people.
One criminologist, Professor David Wilkinson, argued he was 'tap- ping into that dispossessed, white-working-class, masculine mentality, whereby they can't make their way into the world legitimately so behaving the way that Moat has behaved, as this kind of anti-hero, has, I think, touched a nerve.
The internet hosted a vitriolic free-for-all. Take this comment on the Daily Mail site: Look around the supermarket, the bus and increasingly now on the road, you will encounter evergrowing numbers of tattooed, loud, foul-mouthed proles, with scummy brats trailing in their wake, who are incapable of acknowledging or even recognising a common courtesy, and who in their own minds can never, ever, be in the wrong about anything.
These are the people who are getting sentimental about a vicious killer; they have no values, no morality and are so thick that they are beyond redemption. You are better off just avoiding them. This form of class hatred has become an integral, respectable part of modem British culture. It is present in newspapers, TV comedy shows, films, internet forums, social networking sites and everyday conversations. At the heart of the 'chavs' phenomenon is an attempt to obscure the reality of the working-class majority.
Simon Heffer is a strong advocate of this theory. One of the most prominent right-wing journalists in the country, he has spoke to nineteen-year-old Emma, out with her ten-month-old child.
She had also brought up a four-year-old, from her partner's previous relationship--'in case you thought I had rum really young! I'd go back now but he's too young. My rna says that when he's about eighteen months, she's going to watch him for us and I'll go back to work. It would be wrong of me to portray Ashington as some sort of postapocalyptic hellhole or as a society in total meltdown.
There's a real community spirit in the air. People are warm towards one another-as they were towards me, a stranger asking them intrusive questions.
Communities like Ashington were devastated by the whirlwind of de-industrialization unleashed by Thatcherism, but people do their best to adjust and get on with their lives, even in the toughest of circumstances. Father Ian Jackson has been the local Catholic priest in Ashington since People really look out for each other,' he told me. But the people, I always find, are very, very caring and very generous.
But Father Jackson could not help but notice the terrible impact the lack of jobs has had on Ashington's young.
The main industry, I would probably say-you're looking at the big Asda that's just been built, and the hospital Since then, its meaning has broadened significantly. One popular myth makes it an acronym for 'Council Housed And Violent'. Many use it to show their distaste towards working-class people who have embraced consumerism, only to spend their money in supposedly tacky and uncivilized ways rather than with the discreet elegance of the bourgeoisie.
Celebrities from working-class backgrounds such as David Beckham, Wayne Rooney or Cheryl Cole, for example, are routinely mocked as chavs, Above all, the term 'chav' now encompasses any negative traits associated with working-class people-violence, laziness, teenage pregnancies, racism, drunkenness, and the rest. The BBC's White season of programmes dedicated to the same class was a classic example, portraying its members as backwardlooking, bigoted and obsessed with race. Indeed, while the 'working class' became a taboo concept in the aftermath of Thatcherism, the 'white working class' was increasingly spoken about in the early twenty-first century.
Because 'class' had for so long been a forbidden word within the political establishment, the only inequalities discussed by politicians and the media were racial ones. The white working class had become another marginalized ethnic minority, and this meant that all their concerns were understood solely through the prism of race. They became presented as a lost tribe On the wrong side of history, disorientated by multiculturalism and obsessed with defending their identity from the cultural ravages of mass immigration.
The rise of the idea of a 'white working class' fuelled a new liberal bigotry. It was OK to hate the white working class, because they were themselves a bunch of racist bigots.
One defence of the term' chav' points out that 'Chavs themselves use the word, so what's the problem? But the meaning of a word often depends on who is using it. When uttered by a heterosexual, 'queer' is clearly deeply homophobic; yet some gay men have proudly appropriated it as an identity.
Similarly, although 'Paki' is one of the most offensive racist terms a white person can use in Britain, some young Asians use itas a term of endearment among their peers. In , a controversy involving right-wing US shock-jock Dr Laura Schlessinger vividly illustrated this point. After using the word 'nigger' on-air eleven times in a conversation with an African-American caller, she attempted to defend herself on the grounds that black comedians and actors used it.
In all cases, the meaning of the word changes depending on the speaker. When uttered by a middle-class person, 'chav' becomes a term of pure class contempt. Liam Cranley, the son of a factory worker who grew up in a working-class community in Greater Manchester, describes to me his reaction when a middle-class person uses the word: 'You're talking about family: you're talking about my brother, you're talking about my mum.
You're talking about my friends. In part, itis the product of a deeply unequal society.
And indeed inequality is much greater today than it has been for most of our history. Demonizing people at the bottom has been a convenient way of justifying an unequal society throughout the ages. After all, in the abstract it would seem irrational that through an accident of birth, some should rise to the top while others remain trapped at the bottom.
But what if you are on top because you deserve to be? What if people at the bottom are there because of a lack of skill, talent and determination? Yet it goes deeper than inequality. At the root of the demonizarion of working-class people is the legacy of a very British class war. Please enter your name.
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You already recently rated this item. Your rating has been recorded. Write a review Rate this item: Preview this item Preview this item. Owen Jones Publisher: Verso, English View all editions and formats Summary: 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: In this acclaimed investigation, Owen Jones explores how the working class has gone from "salt of the earth" to "scum of the earth.
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, Chavs is a damning indictment of the media and political establishment and an illuminating, disturbing portrait of inequality and class hatred in modern Britain.
This updated edition includes a new chapter exploring the causes and consequences of the UK riots in the summer of Read more Show all links. Allow this favorite library to be seen by others Keep this favorite library private. Find a copy in the library Finding libraries that hold this item Electronic books Material Type: Document, Internet resource Document Type: Owen Jones Find more information about: Owen Jones.
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