Malajas Added to Your Shopping Cart. She challenges the perception of identity as belonging within the person, arguing instead that it is produced and negotiated between persons. No trivia or quizzes yet. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Grayballard rated it liked it Mar 01, Thanks for telling us about the problem. Why do so many television programmes promise to revolutionise our lives?
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The first protest took place in a working class housing estate in Palsgrove, Portsmouth, in which local residents were demanding the removal men believed to be sex offenders already living in the area; the second protest took place in middle-class Balham, London, where locals were protesting against a proposition to build a residential centre for sex-offenders, including child sex-offenders.
Both received press coverage, but both the amount and the tone of the reporting differed. The working-class protest received an enormous amount of coverage, and commentary, with the women involved presented in dismissive and disgusted terms and not a single broad sheet newspaper reported their protest as rational or understandable, preferring to cast the protesters as a mob of rioters.
In addition, frequent reference was made to personal aspects of their lives — such as their appearance, how they furnished their homes, their relationship status, as well as details of their past relationships.
The Paulsgrave women were vilified across three different axes: Their bodily appearance Their ignorance or lack of understanding Their inadequacy as mothers And through this vilification their protests were rendered ridiculous through assumptions of immorality, incompetence and ignorance.
Lawler now asks what can these representations tell us about identity? This is important for two reasons 1. We have traditionally understood class in economic terms, but increasingly cultural markers matter. Class still matters as a source of identity but recently it has taken a back seat as academics have focused on other aspects of identity — such as sexuality. The persistence of class Class divisions and distinctions have not disappeared, class has not ceased to be a meaningful frame for analysis, instead it has become an absent presence — it circulates socially while being unnamed.
The drawing of class distinctions has become displaced onto individual persons and families who are approved or disapproved of. Expressions of disgust at working-class existence remain rife among middle class commentators and middle classness relies on the expulsion and exclusion of what is held to be working classness. Lawler thus adopts a relational approach to class and sees it as dynamic, rather than static categories dependent on economic position. She effectively argues that the public bourgeoisie mainly journalists and academics, and social commentators , those who are low in economic capital, but high in cultural capital, use their voices to express contempt for the working classes, and at the same time position their middle class selves against them.
This is ultimately all about power, about the middle classes trying to position themselves above the working classes by defining them as inferior along the axis of taste. On this final point, Sennet and Cobb famously observed that class inflicts hidden injuries — in terms of the ridicule, shaming, silence and self-scrutiny which go along with a position of pathology. Habitus refers to both physical and psychological aspects of the self — it is the way we stand, how we move, how we look and how we feel, and it is our dispositions, attitudes and tastes, so it is a concept which cuts across traditional mind-body splits, with much of its force deriving from non-conscious elements.
In short, the habitus is not only something someone has, it is learned in the mind-body, it is what one is. Habitus is not determining, but generative. It is dynamic, so it does not reproduce itself perfectly. Fields are the games for which the rules of the game equip us. Habitus are also relational in another sense — they exist in relation to one another — they carry the traces, or the lines along which society is divided — class, gender, ethnicity, the whole lot. Habitus are also hierarchical — some are normalised, some pathological and they clash, and part of the embodied sense of habitus is the judgement of other habitus — however, only some people have the power to make judgements stick.
Disgusting subjects: narratives of lack… Savage et al found that people were frequently uncomfortable and evasive when talking about class as a system, but middle class people consistently characterise working class people in the most horrific terms.
The working classes being talked about are rarely named in class terms, but it is clear who the targets are. Back observes that not only do the working class not deserve to be taken seriously, it is also assumed that they are easy to read and know, although they are seen as unable to know themselves.
The working classes are probably most obviously marked out by their appearance — their clothes and general demeanour — in the UK references are made to shell suits, large gold earrings and tightly permed hair — such easy signfiers do a great deal to code class difference and it is left to the reader or viewer to fill in the gaps by understanding that such appearances are the result of pathology.
There is also a discourse which has coded such working class areas as high-crime areas, given legitimacy through crime-mapping software. Landscape and inhabitants are frequently described in terms of lack, but it in these discussions it is not so much money they lack, but taste. This discourse of lack defines social policy — which mainly focuses around tackling social exclusion where social class is concerned.
Two sociologists who argue coherently against such narratives of lack are Beverly Skeggs and Angella McRobbie And narratives of decline… Where discussion of the working classes is concerned, narratives of lack are accompanied by narratives of decline.
The narrative of decline is the tale that the working class used to be respectable, but that the decline of heavy industry has lead to the working class either moving upward to become middle class, or behind, effectively no longer having any value. The working classes are also seen as suffering from outdated political values, or cultural lag, while progress and reason are on the side of the government and the middle classes. The characterisation of the underlcass has done little to change this.
All of this is worse for working class women get a double negative-label — not only working class but also characterised as unfeminine — and those who try to be feminine are themselves disparaged for it. The move from working class to underclass also has a gendered dimension. Representations of the working classes of the past emphasise masculinity — and radicalised, politicised male workers at least having respectability.
We get the impression from current representations that the wc used to be OK but now they are a problem. Savage argues that this is not the case — only a few wc members manage to claim the noble WC identity referred to above — the middle class have always seen an attempted to portray the WC as something problematic. Their clothes, their bodies, their localities are all seen as tasteless, and faulty.
Lawler now notes that exactly how disgust comes to operate through class is relatively underexplored, but it is so important because it is an emotion which is literally experience in the body, so is very much part of us, but it is also social, because it needs collective affirmation — disgust is thus very much where the personal meets the social.
At the end of the day disgust is the opposite of taste, and the two are flexible — forever changing — what is tasteful today may not be so tomorrow — consider the way the middle classes adapt in the face of popularisation through mass consumption. This change however only serves to highlight the fragility of these classes boundaries via good taste and disgust — one is always aware that one can become the other, and hence the crucial importance of working on maintaining boundaries.
Concluding remarks Basically a reminder that there lies an anxiety at the heart of all identities.
Department of Sociology
The first protest took place in a working class housing estate in Palsgrove, Portsmouth, in which local residents were demanding the removal men believed to be sex offenders already living in the area; the second protest took place in middle-class Balham, London, where locals were protesting against a proposition to build a residential centre for sex-offenders, including child sex-offenders. Both received press coverage, but both the amount and the tone of the reporting differed. The working-class protest received an enormous amount of coverage, and commentary, with the women involved presented in dismissive and disgusted terms and not a single broad sheet newspaper reported their protest as rational or understandable, preferring to cast the protesters as a mob of rioters. In addition, frequent reference was made to personal aspects of their lives — such as their appearance, how they furnished their homes, their relationship status, as well as details of their past relationships.
Identity : sociological perspectives
See a full list of publications Browse activities and projects Explore connections, collaborators, related work and more Profile Biography After leaving school, I worked as a civil servant and as an insurance clerk before going to Liverpool University to do a degree in sociology. I joined the sociology department at York in after posts at Lancaster, Durham and Newcastle. Research Overview From the start, my research has been concerned with social inequalities and social identities, particularly those of class, gender and generation. I have tried to explore the ways in which identity and inequality are interrelated through, for example, the conferring or the denial of value if people are considered to be stupid or ignorant, how will their claims or demands be listened to?