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Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class
Owen Jones
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 groundbreaking 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,
one based on the media’s inexhaustible obsession with an indigent white
underclass, he portrays a far more complex reality. Moving through
Westminster’s lobbies and working-class communities from Dagenham
to Dewsbury Moor, Jones reveals the increasing poverty and desperation
of communities made precarious by wrenching social and industrial
change, and all but abandoned by the aspirational, society-fragmenting
policies of Thatcherism and New Labour. 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

Based on a wealth of original research, and wide-ranging interviews with
media figures, political opinion-formers and workers, Chavs is a damning
indictment of the media and political establishment, and an illuminating,
disturbing portrait of inequality and class hatred in modern Britain.
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