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Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class

Discussion in 'the written word' started by dirtyplotte, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. dirtyplotte

    dirtyplotte sassamafras

    Amazon.com: Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class (9781844676965): Owen Jones: Books

    Has anyone read this. Is it any good? It was put out by a favorite publisher of mine. But it looks sorta hyped, and I don't know if it's actually worth taking the time to buy. He looks really young and is still working on his PhD.

    Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class

    by Owen Jones

    Bestselling 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 acclaimed 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, he portrays a far more complex reality. 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 2011.
  2. Shelly Sparkles

    Shelly Sparkles Well-Known Member

    Can of worms...

    I don't know where to start with this, being from a 'chavvy' background...

    I would certainly read it, but not sure I would wholeheartledy agree with all of it as books as such tend to be written from an observer perspective...
  3. muverick

    muverick SickBubbleGum

    I don't think I could read it. I think it would piss me off.

    I would call someone walking about threatening to stab someone for their mobile phone or whatever, a chav. I would never say chavs are working class or the working class are chavs.
    I know a guy who used to skate, whose parents both own their own businesses (his dad owns a car sales garage, his mum owns a hairdressers) who both run about in big flashy cars and own a big fuck-off house... and yet their son carries a chib, tries to act hard as fuck and (using my definition of it...) is a chav.

    Maybe I just have the wrong definition of "chav" though?
  4. Jean-Paul

    Jean-Paul hysterical paroxysm

    ^sounds like the trust fund art school kids who try to look like trainhoppers and act poor.

    i do love me some skaters, though. =[
    1 person likes this.
  5. Champers

    Champers delicately tapered digits

    I'd definitely read it but, like most critiques of what constitute class, I would take it with a VERY large pinch of salt.

    Saying that the British working classes = chavs is a sweeping generalization, like saying that the American white working classes = trailer trash.

    I do think the term "chav" however, does signify a particular element of the British underclass and for that reason, the book might be of some interest, just try to keep in mind that the book constitutes just one person's perspective surrounding class relations.
    1 person likes this.
  6. dirtyplotte

    dirtyplotte sassamafras

    yeah i wish i knew more about this so i could read it without taking this as OH WELL THATS HOW IT IS. i hope some brit has read this and can tell me
  7. Turning

    Turning Might Be A ****

    In the light of thinking of the book and all, I can't help but get that feeling I get when people say "Well obviously, I don't mean that all black people are niggers."
  8. dirtyplotte

    dirtyplotte sassamafras

    what i like about this book is i think it comes from a marxist perspective.

    turing are you referring to people in this thread or the book?
  9. Turning

    Turning Might Be A ****

    I mean the people in the thread. :( It's just got that vibe to me for some reason.
  10. never was

    never was love a girl like you

    Think people have made some funny assumptions about the book based on the title, but anyway...

    He basically doesn't spend thaat much time taalking about chavs and the book is actuallyy a wider exploration of the british working class (I don't think 'chav' and working class' are the same thing). Its quite interesting but in the end descends into a fairly typical treatment, basically saying things like unionisation is the best hope (disagree here, bob crow is busily hammering the final nails into the trade union movement). The stuff he does say about chavs I broaddly agree with, but there are groups in the UK far more desering of the 'voiceless' tag, like gypsies, but they arnt as fashionable.

    Its a shame this wasn't published after the benefits cap because I would like to know what he made of it, essentially having been part of the party that made it necessary
  11. gelflinggirl

    gelflinggirl BADMAN.

    I do not like the word chav.
    it has always made me feel, for want of a better word, icky.

    I try really hard not to use it but I do sometimes when trying to describe someone in the same way I might use goth or emo kid or whatever. but then because of how other people use it and what has happened with it it feels wrong. It's like the word paki, in America people seem to use itsuper casually and just view it as shortening a word but over here because of all the history of people using that word and how and why and what has gone with it they do it has become imbued with a horrible power.

    I remember when I was younger we would call people "kevs and sharons" instead.

    god I am shit at articulating my opinions properly.
  12. dirtyplotte

    dirtyplotte sassamafras

    so do you think it's worth a read?

    i would think he picked chavs to write about bc of his perspective on economics not bc it's fashionable. it probably got published bc its fashionable though.

    although i would think that verso would be into a treatment of the gypsies from the marginalized perspective.
  13. dirtyplotte

    dirtyplotte sassamafras

    so chav is a pretty shitty word then.

    what are kevs and sharons?
  14. gelflinggirl

    gelflinggirl BADMAN.

    some of the people that are now referred to as chavs used to be called kevs and sharons, where I live anyway.
    people in tracksuits someking b&h with their hair pulled back in a croydon facelift.
  15. Amity

    Amity forever delayed

    We called them "townies" when I was a kid, up until maybe 2004ish?
    also "pikeys" but I didn't know the association with travellers tied up in that name, I thought it was the same thing as townie. I'd never use it now, too loaded.
  16. gelflinggirl

    gelflinggirl BADMAN.

    what do you define as chavvy background?
  17. never was

    never was love a girl like you

    Nah he picked it cos he's a trade unionist and used to do what I used to do but for a labour mp. Its worth a read if you're into british class politics, and the analysis is interesting, it just falls down (for me) when he starts banging the drum for a type of leftism that is either dead or dying.
  18. dirtyplotte

    dirtyplotte sassamafras

    i dont see how his being a trade unionist precludes his interest in the subject? :confused: but i am not british so maybe i am missing something culturally specific to being a trade unionist?
  19. never was

    never was love a girl like you

    trade unions were the vehicle of the working classes in U.K for political bargaining, and they were instrumental in forming the Labour Party - he's a member of both. He also spends a lot of time bigging the unions up. If you mean why didn't he write about gypsies, it's because it doesn't fit with his agenda.
  20. dirtyplotte

    dirtyplotte sassamafras

    oh no. i was saying that he wrote about this stuff bc it interests him not bc its currently popular.

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