The Limits of Reflexivity | How Class Mobility Impedes Your Ability to Research

“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

The Psychic Landscape of Social Class & My Cleft Habitus | Part 3: Gaining the Scholastic Disposition

“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

The Psychic Landscape of Social Class & My Cleft Habitus | Part 2: Class-based Bullying, Fear & Envy

“[…] Social class even effects the ways we think and feel. […] the education system is a key point of socialisation and education as an institution, along with the family, is one of they most significant experiences which develop everyone. […]working-class children internalise an understanding of their low academic achievement as pathological, which in Bourdieusian terms translates to them accepting and valuing symbolic mastery, which is required for academic achievement, as privileged over practical mastery. They come to accept the doxa, the orthodoxy, that academic achievement makes one worth more and so on one level misrecognise that their acceptance of this doxa perpetuates its privileged value which keeps them in a dominated position by reproducing general class relations, and on another level, they understand this which is why it leads to class based bullying.” … More The Psychic Landscape of Social Class & My Cleft Habitus | Part 2: Class-based Bullying, Fear & Envy

In Defence of Bourdieu | Critical Commentary on Dylan Riley’s “Bourdieu’s Class Theory” in new journal: Catalyst by Jacobin Magazine

“This article is a critical commentary, hopefully also comically polemical, on an article by Dylan Riley, professor of sociology at UC Berkeley, written in the new journal Catalyst in Spring 2017. I think his article does an injustice to Bourdieu and those scholars that have continued to develop his sociology. It is an extremely long and thorough, although still not as thorough as it could be, article which I hope succeeds in at least combating Riley’s criticisms, many of which seem almost slanderous to me. I hope this article also provides a decent introduction to Bourdieu’s sociology for anyone interested. ” … More In Defence of Bourdieu | Critical Commentary on Dylan Riley’s “Bourdieu’s Class Theory” in new journal: Catalyst by Jacobin Magazine

The indignity of service work | My experiences as a fast-food worker | Part 6

“Using dramaturgical analysis, we see here how the actors need to perform convincingly enough that the audience doesn’t have the illusion of the overall interaction shattered- this is called impression management. Here, positive affect is a goal of the corporation because it increases profits but this extra work, which Arlie Hochschild labels “emotional labour” isn’t considered renumerable work.
This emotional labour not only compounds the exploitation of the worker, as they produce more surplus value for their employer, but it is a more obvious example of the alienation caused by capitalism.” … More The indignity of service work | My experiences as a fast-food worker | Part 6

The Psychic Landscape of Social Class & My Cleft Habitus | Part 1: Introduction

“[Diane] Reay points out how some sociological theories consider class identities consist of the practices and accounts of such practices done by members of a class, but she believes that how members of a class think and feel about those practices is a key, yet overlooked, feature of class identity. […] there is a psychic economy implicit in the reproduction of social classes whereby social class causes psychic effects which contribute to the reproduction of class, which cause psychic effects on that class that reproduce it again, and so on. […] Reay shows how experiences [of school] might not show explicit knowledge of social class, but at least an implicit understanding about class differences which effect their attitudes and practices. [In this series] I will also be reflecting on some of my own experiences of school as I think they have effected my own thoughts and practices.” … More The Psychic Landscape of Social Class & My Cleft Habitus | Part 1: Introduction

The indignity of service work | My experiences as a fast-food worker | Part 5

“I believe that the uncritical acceptance of such methods is a result of the inculcation of values of propriety and the normalisation of examination (practices which are so generalised in modern society, they led Foucault to call it “the disciplinarian society”). Having eyes upon you, whether of the state or one’s employer (in reductionist terms, both can easily be conceived as collaborators in class domination, hence enemies/dominators of the working class and so indistinguishable in that regard) is just a part of daily proletarian life in contemporary British society.” … More The indignity of service work | My experiences as a fast-food worker | Part 5

The indignity of service work | My experiences as a fast-food worker | Part 4

“The pathetic value and arbitrariness of rewards at foodchain made the punishment aspect of games the main incentive for competition. Some of these punishments, as discussed in the earlier part of this series, were explicit, however, some were seemingly (and possibly) accidental side-effects. […] Beyond the unfairness of rewards and punishments, and the arbitration involved in the allocation of them, the sales game itself was rigged.” … More The indignity of service work | My experiences as a fast-food worker | Part 4

The indignity of service work | My experiences as a fast-food worker | Part 3

“At foodchain, the objective of the game was to maximise certain types of additional sales and compete with fellow workers on daily scoreboards, displayed for all workers to see. Falling below a certain threshold cumulative score for the week could result in penalisation and winning meant possible rewards. Domination is more apparent when considering penalisation might include being made redundant, or more perniciously, scheduling less hours of work for the “losing” worker.” … More The indignity of service work | My experiences as a fast-food worker | Part 3

The indignity of service work | My experiences as a fast-food worker | Part 2

“In an article comparing Antonio Gramsci’s ideas about domination being based on a somewhat consensual hegemonic order with Pierre Bourdieu’s ideas about domination being partly resultant from a misrecognition of social domination by the dominated, Michael Burawoy talks about his experiences working on a factory shop floor. Burawoy talks about the types of concessions given by management to the workers in order to legitimise and make more consensual their relationship, which is analogous Burawoy and others like Gramsci could claim, to the class relationship in broader society, between capitalists and proletarians. One of the sources of consent-making identified by Burawoy was the consititution of work as a game.” … More The indignity of service work | My experiences as a fast-food worker | Part 2