Social Inequality

The Demonisation of the Working Class

In this Thinking Allowed broadcast, Laurie Taylor talks to Owen Jones whose book, “Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Class” looks at the ways in which poorer members of the British society have become the ‘other’ – a distinct and separate group from the rest of society, perhaps held up as the example of what not to be. This underclass, the ‘Council Housed and Violent’ are the new working class, new in the sense that they are not working.

Link to podcast:

Discover More Thinking Allowed

A useful narrative on the book can also be found here:

Discover More Review: Chavs - The Demonization of the Working Class

This is an accessible and well-written article that can easily be printed off for immediate use in class.

From this, students could conduct a small scale content analysis of newspapers (for example the Daily Mail) investigating portrayals of the working class, the homeless, the elderly and so on in society – encourage your students to decide on the categories and how they intend to code the data. Using whatever method is most comfortable to them, they present their findings of the research question to the rest of the class. An example could be, “How do the Daily Mail present the young and unemployed in Britain today”. Discussions around how to conduct the content analysis provides useful synoptic links to Research Methods topics.


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