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It’s like saying “coloured”: understanding and analysing the urban working classes

Vincent, Carol and Ball, Stephen and Braun, Annette and author, default (2008) It’s like saying “coloured”: understanding and analysing the urban working classes. The Sociological Review, 56. pp. 61-77. ISSN 0038-0261

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Abstract

This paper draws on data from a qualitative project exploring the engagement of working class families in London with childcare. It is a first attempt to throw some light on our usage of the term ‘working class’, and consider what forms ‘working class-ness’ takes in relation to our respondent families. We discuss some recent sociological literature on the working class(es) in order to understand the emphasises and focuses of other research. We emphasise the heterogeneity of the working class(es), the differences in attitude and experiences based on place, gender, occupational status, education, age and family membership. Then we consider our respondents in relation to their strategies and exercise of agency, their engagement with the labour market, and their embedded-ness in social networks. We conclude that one way of understanding the lives of urban working class families is to consider the extent to which they ‘manage or struggle to cope’, a focus which emphasises process, activity and the differential degrees of agency which the respondents are able to exercise.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This paper reports on the findings of an ESRC funded project on the engagement of working class families with childcare. In the paper we consider what forms 'working class-ness' takes in relation to our respondent families. The analysis is distinctive because it emphasises the heterogeneity of the working class(es), the differences in attitude and experiences based on place, gender, occupational status, education, age and family membership. We conclude by emphasising the differential degrees of agency which the respondents are able to exercise. The definitive version is available at www3.interscience.wiley.com
Depositing User: IOE Repository Editor (2)
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2010 12:25
Last Modified: 13 May 2014 17:14
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