This is a big deal because one of the main ways that people are socialized is through using, observing and contemplating material objects. The idea that people learn their places in society by engaging with the physical stuff around them has a long history in anthropology, but it was finally cemented into the theoretical mainstream in 1972 when Pierre Bourdieu published his Outline of a Theory of Practice. Bourdieu makes the case that we come to internalize the expectations of our particular social group by analogy with categories, orders and relations of things. Spatial arrangements of objects in the home, for example, or the use of different farming tools at different times of year, come to stand for intangible relationships between genders, social strata and the like, thereby anchoring abstract ideas about social organization to the physical world.
~ Designing Culture by Colin McSwiggen
posted by infini
on Sep 7, 2012 -
was a titanic "electronic" tea time BBC general knowledge quiz show in the late 1980s, presented by heartthrob Debbie Greenwood
(now a regular on QVC UK) with the aid of a BBC Micro called Eugene. Two teams of teenagers represented their schools as they battled for supremacy playing a random selection of arcade games like skateboarder 720 degrees
, the ultimate prize an Acorn Archimedes
. Now, the nail-biting encounter between Armthorpe School in Sheffield and Montagu School of Kettering is on YouTube [parts 1
posted by feelinglistless
on Jul 11, 2012 -
In 1891 author and lecturer ”Max O’Rell
” (being the pen name of one Léon Paul Blouet) published an amusing account of his travels through the States and Eastern Canada - "A Frenchman In America
" - that, along with the charming illustrations, reflect on then popular national stereotypes and character and is presented on Project Gutenberg in its entirely. (via
posted by The Whelk
on Jul 7, 2012 -
Welcome to the world of Britain's working poor.
The Rowleys belong to a section of society not much mentioned in ministerial and media dispatches. They are neither the very wealthy affected by the 50p tax nor the "squeezed middle" expressing anxiety about child benefit and this week's budget; nor are the Rowleys representative of the long-term unemployed or one of the 120,000 "troubled families" in which the government is investing £448m over the next three years. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad
on Mar 18, 2012 -
"I can tell you that the days of of white, wealthy, upper-class [Smith] students from prep schools in cashmere coats and pearls who marry Amherst men are over. This is unfortunate because it is this demographic that puts their name on buildings, donates great art and subsidizes scholarships."
Anne Spurzem, Smith College '84, reacts to news about the increase in diversity at her alma mater during President Carol Christ's tenure while Christ prepares to step down in 2013. Unsurprisingly, Spurzem's comments have caused an uproar among students and alumnae, leading to the creation of the Pearls and Cashmere Tumblr
, which celebrates the diversity feared by Spurzem. Meanwhile, President Christ has responded to Spurzem's allegations in an open letter to to the Smith community
posted by peripathetic
on Feb 24, 2012 -
talks about The Help
, Hattie McDaniel, why black women are still winning awards for playing maids, how black culture is appropriated and represented, and whether marginalized groups in America all serve the purpose of "cultural maids". [more inside]
posted by nakedmolerats
on Jan 30, 2012 -
The Percentages: A Biography of Class
. An autobiographical essay about growing up in the working class (as the author defines it) and then meeting the middle class (again, as the author defines it). This is so far outside my experience that I can't even summarize it properly, but it's worth reading.
posted by d. z. wang
on Oct 16, 2011 -
This week has seen a lot of discussion of the American criminal justice system and its failings, and a lot of concern about what can be done to fix it.
In 1947, a working class black man looked like he was about to have the full weight of the system brought down on him for taking justice into his own hands. But after Chicago leftists - including labor unions, religious leaders, artists, civil rights activists & others - launched a movement, James Hickman was set free
after an all-white jury, in a trial presided over by a white judge, failed to convict, and the DA chose not to re-try because of the magnitude of public support for Hickman.
According to a review
in The Nation, a new book
tells the story in a way that turns the typical right-wing biases of the true crime genre on their head. [more inside]
posted by univac
on Sep 22, 2011 -
Monica Potts on Louis CK and privilege:
"For the most part, people of color are the ones who initiate serious discussions about race and privilege in the public sphere -- and in the world of comedy ... Some white comedians, like Sarah Silverman, tend to joke about
racism, making fun of white people and their ignorance in ways that shock and offend. ... But Louis' comedy is about being a white man -- and about how others view white men. He doesn't accept ignorance as a point of view. Moreover, this isn't the occasional stand-up bit; a significant number of his jokes are about race, class, and gender." [more inside]
posted by l33tpolicywonk
on Oct 15, 2010 -
"[Bank robber Peter Barry] Lawrence, 71, made his getaway in his wheelchair, with $2,000 in cash on his lap... he took a meandering route down Seventh Avenue until the police caught up with him five minutes later. But that was all part of the plan.
" And an embedded reporter in Afghanistan notes that "many young soldiers told me that they actually live better in the army
, even when deployed, than they did in civilian life, where they couldn't make ends meet, especially when they were trying to pay for college or raise a family by working one or two low-wage jobs" (p. 1
). Meanwhile, "parents of means are now resorting to buying franchise businesses
to keep their adult children employed." Economic life in contemporary America.
posted by rkent
on Aug 3, 2010 -
"Welcome to the simplicity movement, the ethos whose mantras are "cutting back," "focusing on the essentials," "reconnecting to the land" - and talking, talking, talking about how fulfilled it all makes you feel."
Charlotte Allen of In Character about the Simplicity Movement, magazines, wild boars, virtue, and 350$ riding boots.
posted by The Whelk
on Apr 25, 2010 -
In 1937, the London News Chronicle published a photograph of five boys at the gates of Lord's cricket ground; two stood aloof in top hats and tails, with their backs to a group of three working-class lads. The resulting photograph became famous as a metaphor for the class divide in Britain, appearing in newspaper stories about school reform, inequality and bourgeois guilt and on the covers of books
. The photograph appeared in the Getty Images archive as "Toffs and Toughs
", and even was printed on a jigsaw puzzle in 2004. The identities of the three working-class boys were unknown until a journalist tracked them down in 1998; here
is an article on the history of the photograph and the lives of the five boys in it.
posted by acb
on Mar 23, 2010 -
The Costs of Becoming a Journalist:
"Journalists born since 1970 predominantly come from middle class to upper middle class backgrounds. And Journalism ranks third in the list of the most socially exclusive professions, just behind doctors and lawyers." One reason: "a prerequisite for entrance into a career in journalism is at least one internship experience, and ... many, if not most, are unpaid." For some of the problems with unpaid internship: Take This Internship and Shove It
posted by shetterly
on Sep 28, 2009 -