Chavs by Owen Jones
The Demonization of the Working Class

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Synopsis

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.
 

About Owen Jones

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Owen Jones has worked in the British Parliament as a trade union lobbyist and parliamentary researcher. He is writing a PhD on the history of blue-collar America and the rise of the New Right. He lives in London.
 
Published May 22, 2012 by Verso. 305 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Chavs

The New York Times

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He wonders how working men, in the public imagination, have been reduced to “knuckle-dragging thugs.” Writing about a tabloid crime that seemed to indict England’s lower classes, Mr. Jones declares, “The episode was like a flare, momentarily lighting up a world of class and prejudice in ...

Jul 12 2011 | Read Full Review of Chavs: The Demonization of th...

The Guardian

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An at-a-glance guide to the 10 books - novels, non-fiction and poetry - that make up the longlist of the Guardian First Book Award, in association with Davidstow.

Sep 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Chavs: The Demonization of th...

The Guardian

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Towards the end of his reign as prime minister, Tony Blair told a New Labour think-tank "we're all middle class", an opinion echoed more recently by both the Daily Telegraph ("We're all middle class now, dahling") and the Times ("We're all middle class now as social barriers fall away").

Jun 19 2011 | Read Full Review of Chavs: The Demonization of th...

The Guardian

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Middle-class hatred of working-class people – or, rather, a particular image of working-class people which some hold in their minds – is a different beast, saying more about the way in which the education system, especially, is structured to prevent most privileged students from ever having to co...

Jun 08 2011 | Read Full Review of Chavs: The Demonization of th...

Publishers Weekly

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A thought-provoking examination of a relatively new yet widespread derogatory characterization of the working class in Britain as a highly distinct social group of feckless, violence-prone bigots, called Chavs.

May 02 2011 | Read Full Review of Chavs: The Demonization of th...

BC Books

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Yet, as Jones points out, the "Chavtown" website defines working in a shop as one sign of "chavdom", even though working in shops was not so long ago considered quite a genteel, middle-class occupation.

Aug 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Chavs: The Demonization of th...

BC Books

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But it's not, as Jones explains, because the girls want a council flat (in fact at ages 16 and 17 they won't get that anyway - they'll either live at home or in supported accommodation), although it is in part because middle class girls are much more likely to have an abortion if they get pregnan...

Aug 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Chavs: The Demonization of th...

BC Books

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This is Jones's summary of the Thatcher government: "For the first time in generations, it was a blatant government aim to shovel as much money in the direction of the rich as possible.In the first Budget, top bracket taxes of 83 per cent on earned income and 98 per cent on unearned income were s...

Aug 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Chavs: The Demonization of th...

The Independent

I had been tipped off about Chavs, and was keen to have a read, having had the book pitched to me as an attempt to help rehabilitate a modern class politics.

Jun 03 2011 | Read Full Review of Chavs: The Demonization of th...

Los Angeles Review of Books

the new and confident middle class, set free by the Thatcher revolution […] and a tiny, and increasingly powerless, upper class.” Fifteen years later, it is often those on the margins who don’t belong to Prescott’s neo-middle class that inflame England’s political culture.

Nov 05 2012 | Read Full Review of Chavs: The Demonization of th...

Socialist Review

He believes we need to re-engage working class people in electoral politics - he wants workers to fight for environmentally friendly industrial regeneration, social housing and a fairer distribution of wealth.

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Dawn.com

The author notes with disdain that “new laws allowed employees to sack strikers, reduced dismissal compensation, forbade workers to strike in support of others, repealed protections preventing courts seizing union funds and made unions liable for huge financial penalties.” Jones points out that ...

Sep 23 2012 | Read Full Review of Chavs: The Demonization of th...

London School of Economics

As Owen Jones’ book Chavs is longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, we re-visit Carl Packman‘s review of this persuasively argued and passionately written book on how New Labour policies were sometimes steeped in Tory middle class triumphalism.

Sep 04 2011 | Read Full Review of Chavs: The Demonization of th...

Total Politics

Subscribe and save 38% by David Skelton / 25 Jul 2011 16:15 David Skelton finds this a very readable book about the demonisation of our workin...

Jul 25 2011 | Read Full Review of Chavs: The Demonization of th...

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