While the 1% rule, poor neighbourhoods have become the subject of public concern and media scorn, blamed for society's ills. This unique book redresses the balance. Lisa Mckenzie lived on the St Annâs estate in Nottingham for more than 20 years. Her âinsiderâ status enables us to hear the stories of its residents, often wary of outsiders. St Ann's has been stigmatised as aWhile the 1% rule, poor neighbourhoods have become the subject of public concern and media scorn, blamed for society's ills. This unique book redresses the balance. Lisa Mckenzie lived on the St Annâs estate in Nottingham for more than 20 years. Her âinsiderâ status enables us to hear the stories of its residents, often wary of outsiders. St Ann's has been stigmatised as a place where gangs, guns, drugs, single mothers and those unwilling or unable to make something of their lives reside. Yet in this same community we find strong, resourceful, ambitious people who are 'getting by', often with humour and despite facing brutal austerity....
|Title||:||Getting By: Estates, Class and Culture in Austerity Britain|
|Number of Pages||:||224 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Getting By: Estates, Class and Culture in Austerity Britain Reviews
A fierce, fantastic book. Based on solid ethnographic work, yet personal and written in an accessible way. Some will decry it as political. Well, hell yes, it is--and should be! Required reading for anyone interested in public or activist sociology. The only thing lacking was another round of edits where some repetition could have been cut, but that's a minor detail.
The real deal. The book everyone in Parliament needs to read, especially if they're a Tory MP and hate every page of it. Lisa McKenzie is pretty much the only person worth listening to on the question of why poor people voted Leave in the 2016 referendum (and thus why Remain lost), although that isn't covered here. There are a couple of typos that could have been fixed here and there, but that's the minor negative I've got. The Kindle edition should have a Sleaford Mods album playing as continuous soundtrack as well.
I really enjoyed reading this book. âGetting Byâ is unusual for being a eight year study of working class life on the St Annâs estate in Nottingham, written by a working class woman who was living on the estate being studied. The writer is able to maintain her own rhetorical style whilst negotiating academic requirements with a light touch making it accessible to a general readership. What stands out for me is the resilient community connections that are maintained in St Anns, whilst under siege from the rest of Nottingham society and the national media. To me this is central to understanding class oppression. The most oppressed people seem to not lose their connection to the people around them. Whereas as class oppression is internalised and people âmove up and outâ to a lifestyle to escape the stigmatisations and stereotypes, they gradually lose that connection. If they get to be âtrulyâ middle-class, they may be lacking warmth and closeness with the other humans that live in their sphere. A generalisation of course. But the point is that it is the middle classes that are lacking - with respect to human solidarity. Working class people are being told they are inferior but this quality of their lives is overlooked and unappreciated. The exclusion of the people of this estate from life outside the confines of the estate is made clear in several sections of the book. Lisa describes class oppression lucidly: According to the classist myths levelled by the right wing media working class people âlack aspiration, moral values, a work ethic, and are too located in the places where they live, leading to ignorance, stupidity, and lack of aspiration - they have become deficit in the public imagination.â p.20. Later she says: âThroughout this book I have shown how stigma and stereotype are both pervasive damaging.â p.192. There is âloathing for families who live on council estatesâ p.194. At the best they are shown disrespect by the world outside of the estate. Respect then becomes a key value within the estate. Other elements of classism mentioned are feeling powerless and having no say, being insecure, and unsafe, being misrepresented and misunderstood. p.171.In spite of these damaging representationsâŚ âBeing part of a community, the sense of belonging and the strong sense of who you are, is often lost in contemporary Britain.â p.199. In fact the people on this estate feel they are leaders in making a new multi-racial âmixed identitiesâ community which they rightly see as a future which we could all aspire to. It is good that this book focuses on this achievement interwoven with the struggle to âget byâ. âThroughout this book I have described a tight-knit community, which has been built on pride, a sense of belonging, humour, and sharing, but also in fear, instability and stigmatisation.â p.149.I am left thinking that academia does not have enough Lisa Mackenzieâs and so has not developed a satisfactory theory of oppression that accounts for the damage it does to individual. At one point Lisa observes âThey were also hurt buy these representations, and often said it made them weak.â p.204. I can see that the inability to further explore this emotional hurt is due to the historically disembodied nature of academic discourse and the literary class. The bourgeois vested interests that run academic institutions will maintain an inscrutable silence on the matter. Academia has its own âemotional boundariesâ. p.160. Lisa does criticise academia, even if it is something of a glancing blow - the verbose language of academic papers (p.147). The sanitisation of accounts of working-class life by middle-class researchers on p.170. The difficulty a young estate working class intellectual faces in Nottingham university.The book has much fascinating detail. The account of the apolitical nature of communication amongst the men and the prevalence of âconspiracy theoriesâ and accords with experience of relatives in London. Which leads me to think that this is a widespread phenomenon. The question being: how could this kind of inquiry be converted into a more politically potent one? Similar questions pervade the community - how can a community with such strong inner bonds find the agency to become a political force? This needs to be a discussion that includes the people in those situations; which, I suppose, is what this research achieved. Although this is a complex and nuanced picture of this estate, there is much left to know. To what extent do (for instance) organisations like the Labour party and Trade Unions have members on the estate? The study engages with the people who get most unfairly and hurtfully stereotyped by the media, but I would think there are many other individuals on such a large estate that donât fit those stereotypes. It is often âoddballsâ that can be catalysts for change as well as people with a normative experience. In fact Lisa herself could be seen as one such oddball who is both similar and different. It is clear in some of the later quotes that her research process and commitment to the people has itself been a catalyst of change in individuals, which we may never be able to quantify the results of. I am part of an allotment community where I live but the allotments on St Anns offered another site that was mentioned but not covered by the research. (Page 23). But I can see that a study there could have been seen as an avoidance of the key âproblemsâ that the estate is famous for. Towards the end of the book she says: âThere has been a gradual exclusion, devaluing and stigmatisation of sections of the British working class for several generations.â p.195. I would claim this is a much older process and is integral to the formation of class society and urbanisation. It is not just the poorest sections but the whole of the class, as in majority of the population, that is affected. To escape this stigmatisation most of us are invited to deny, denigrate and leave the deep values of our culture and become reborn as aspirational or middle class wannabees. What a formula for alienation! What an internalisation of damaging class shame! Why should not working class people do whatever job they like without having to feel they have to give up their identity to do certain things! But the majority of us probably live somewhere in this realm. It is the corralling and mythification of St Anns and the âpoorâ in general that is used to terrify the rest of us into being âclasslessâ.I notice Lisa has got a fellowship at the glamorous LSE. Congratulation to her. I hope she is not going to be swallowed up by the establishment.
Really wonderful book! Super brain opening! Read if you're a person interested in other people but especially if you think you might have accidentally fallen victim to the world's ease at demonising the working classes!
Four stars for being important, certainly not for enjoyment factor.
Needs a good editor