“Further reflection on Reay’s pessimism […] has deepened the cynical turn in my thought and practices. In my notes for this series I had originally written to include a discussion of my individual practices of resistance to class stereotyping and stigma.
One of these practices was to retain my North-West English accent. […] this strategy was meant to diminish stigma by going against common stereotypes about what an educated person looks/sounds like […] however, I doubt the effectiveness of this practice.
Perhaps some readers will interpret aspects of this article as a confession that I have given up on the rationale most associated with critical theory. […] Yet, much as I am dismayed by much of what I currently see, I am still working on my own theories and I still do my best to follow Horkheimer’s famous dictum on the purpose of critique, that it is “to liberate human beings from the circumstances that enslave them.”” … More The Psychic Landscape of Social Class & My Cleft Habitus | Part 8: Pessimism About Practices of Resistance and Social Mobility
“Pursuing higher education as a means to become upwardly socially mobile also reflects the hyper-competitive individualistic culture of contemporary society and universities, especially their marketing departments, are partly to blame for this. For me personally, academic pursuits were not a means to the end of greater financial security, although when I was younger this was seen as an obvious benefit, but I was drawn to them because it is in my habitus. However, there is still a lingering feeling of anxiety and sometimes guilty shame about my choices regarding my education […]
Reay’s research shows how some parents felt guilty about not sending their children to the best school possible and how they struggled balancing their own values with normative notions about good middle-class parenting. […]
If I can afford it, I would send my children to private school. Does this make me complicit in this unfair system? Is the privilege of choosing a lower or middle-class school also a choice about what social class one’s children will be?” … More The Psychic Landscape of Social Class & My Cleft Habitus | Part 7: What School Should I Send My Children To? Am I Also Choosing What Social Class They Will Be?
“Macbeth teaches its audience a moral lesson beyond killing is wrong, since it is unquestioningly alright to kill your fellow man at war, nor even regicide is wrong as King Macbeth is justly slain at the end (no spoiler alerts on a four centuries old play), but that it is wrong to disturb the social order. […]
Perhaps Bernays’ concept of propaganda is too broad? Can we consider, for example, Aesop’s fables as propaganda? […]
t is also difficult to examine how much luck was involved in creating my situation because, like Bourdieu who first theorised about habitus, my class mobility is an exception to the rule about how our inherited capitals, our origins, determine our destinations. […]
At what point does doing what modern society requires of one to get ahead, perhaps abandoning the class interests as a whole yet still working towards more justice and opportunities for those like myself that want to move up, equate to killing the king?” … More Macbeth Had a Cleft Habitus, Sometimes Propaganda is Moral, and Social Mobility is Like Killing the King
“Run ft. Rag‘n’Bone Man sharply returns to the central theme of B. Inspired- arguably social mobility, “making it”. This track again sets out the grim reality of life in the underclass and begins to bring in a critique of those at the bottom who in their own defeat, use what little energy they have after survival to keep others down. It is a lower-class parallel to the Thatcherism “let your poppies grow tall”. I think this especially appeals to Bugzy’s intended audience as a response to the lack of ambition fostered in people with working-class origins without the moralism or shallow workerism of today’s political left- again remaining at the blurry fringe between social and political. It is therapy to combat the psychological aspects of class neglected in mainstream discourses which admits that social mobility is a struggle, full of contradictions, but that’s life and Bugzy’s audience knows it.” … More A Sociologist on Grime, the Sociology of Bugzy Malone | Album Review of B. Inspired
“Risking reducing parts of Bourdieu’s socioanalysis from a philosophical enquiry into the essence of his own being through examining his becoming, and certainly hoping not to appear to pathologise his reflexivity, there is a kind of constant flux of self-image as it is constantly re-examined. The difference between Bourdieu and one who suffers with BPD perhaps is, as many psychologists would agree (at least in my experience with fellow students many of which are now practising psychologists in some form) is that his reflexive actions did not cause him social problems and/or psychic distress enough to be considered pathological. ” … More The Psychic Landscape of Social Class & My Cleft Habitus | Part 6: The Beginnings of a Bourdieusian Analysis of Mental Illness (BPD)?
“The diffusion of responsibility is the phenomena whereby one considers that one is less responsible for some action when others are present- they absorb some of the responsibility or another might even be perceived to take it all, for example in cases where an authority is present. The government is not only not the bystander it wants us to think it is, but it has the knowledge and power to act so is responsible nevertheless. Public intellectuals, including social scientists, need to reinforce this idea or things will never change and we similarly act as irresponsible deferrers of responsibility. Those individuals responsible for disability assessments that label dying people fit for work, cut their benefits, and might as well just kill those they assess, should be vilified until held to account. As an extreme example, but using the same logic, if we don’t hold these people to account, then the Nazis who “just drove the trains” are not culpable for their role in the holocaust.” … More The Responsibility of Public Intellectuals in Holding Governments to Account | The Diffusion of Responsibility in Bureaucracy | The Connection Between the Holocaust & Welfare Cuts | Dedicated to Hannah Arendt
“The idea of a “Hereditary Meritocracy” is provocative and not dissimilar from, albeit a quite reductive form of, one of the main ideas by our favourite Frenchman Pierre Bourdieu- we in the advanced economies of the world, although not subject to the arbitrary inequality of hereditary transmission of power legitimised by divine right, are still far from the ideal world in which “the condition of your birth does not determine the outcome of your life”. Actually, the transmission of power and privilege is still quite arbitrary, largely hereditary but now it is disguised in other forms… If we really want to (I can’t believe I’m going to quote Thatcher!) “let our poppies grow tall”, then we need to accept the reality that some of those poppies are getting extra fertiliser and some are born in the shade. ” … More Hereditary Meritocracy Is Not Meritocracy | Critical Commentary of The Economist
“Content warning: This article contains discussion of childhood neglect and abuse.
[…] I can’t recall much of my mother apart from her occasional emotional abusiveness such as screaming at me that I would “end up just like [my] father” when I misbehaved. The only real stability in my life then came from my maternal grandparents and school, the latter of which not exactly stable […] As a child, I didn’t understand that what I went through then was tantamount to abuse […] lack of consistency and abuse has led to maladaptive behaviours symptomatic of my mental health diagnosis, and in Bourdieusian terms, negative cultural capitals- especially in the way I failed to develop my independence or learned “learned helplessness”.” … More The Psychic Landscape of Social Class & My Cleft Habitus | Part 5: Abuse & Neglect; Embodying Negative Cultural Capital
“In summary, I do not have the same social position as others I work with so cannot, as with my experiences as a fast-food worker, objectify my experiences in the same way. Just as the ethnographer experiences the world of the research subject through his own categories of perception and dispositions (his habitus) and so can never truly experience the subjective world of the subject they research, I would be trying to see the world of the working-class (in this case more specifically “precariat”) worker through more middle-class eyes (my class position is difficult to articulate as will be explained later in the main series).” … More The Limits of Reflexivity | How Class Mobility Impedes Your Ability to Research
“For the earlier parts of childhood, we were fairly middle class in the sense that I don’t remember ever going hungry, living in a comfortable suburban area where I would play outside with other children on our street. Culturally however I was fairly deprived compared to more middle class children in that, although I showed an interest in certain culturally valued pursuits, my parents did not have the propensity to invest in my education further […] I sometimes lived with my maternal grandparents […] It was probably most during these years that I was inculcated with values of hard work, gratitude, self-reliance and thrift. Although not exactly poor, my grandparents probably inherited these values from their parents […] success might have motivated me to adopt a more industrious attitude to my schoolwork if not for the following years not affording me the stability I needed to focus…”
In this article I have begun to explore how I came to possess a scholastic disposition and certain values which I have been able to exchange and convert into different forms of capital that have allowed me to be socially mobile. … More The Psychic Landscape of Social Class & My Cleft Habitus | Part 3: Gaining the Scholastic Disposition