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The ‘chav’ phenomenon: Consumption, media and the construction of a new underclass

The ‘chav’ phenomenon: Consumption, media and the construction of a new underclass This article argues that the decline of the ‘underclass’discourse in the UK, and the rise of the ‘chav’, are notunconnected. We contend that there are numerous homologies between the meaningcontent, objects and tenor of these two terms, and suggest that the‘chav’ represents a popular reconfiguration of the underclassidea. However, we are also keen to note the way in which the concept of socialmarginality is reconfigured in this substitution. Specifically, we argue that thediscourse of the underclass turned crucially upon a (perceived or real) pathology inthe working classes’ relations to production and sociallyproductive labour. Its emergent successor, the concept of the‘chav’, is in contrast oriented to purportedly pathologicalclass dispositions in relation to the sphere of consumption. In a bid tohighlight this shift we consider the emergence of debates upon social marginalityand consumption practices, and attempt to locate popular media discourse surroundingthe ‘chav’ within this frame, including the various ways inwhich purportedly pathological consumption practices serve to organise this form ofsocial classification. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Crime, Media, Culture: An International Journal SAGE

The ‘chav’ phenomenon: Consumption, media and the construction of a new underclass

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References (77)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
Copyright © by SAGE Publications
ISSN
1741-6590
eISSN
1741-6604
DOI
10.1177/1741659006061708
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article argues that the decline of the ‘underclass’discourse in the UK, and the rise of the ‘chav’, are notunconnected. We contend that there are numerous homologies between the meaningcontent, objects and tenor of these two terms, and suggest that the‘chav’ represents a popular reconfiguration of the underclassidea. However, we are also keen to note the way in which the concept of socialmarginality is reconfigured in this substitution. Specifically, we argue that thediscourse of the underclass turned crucially upon a (perceived or real) pathology inthe working classes’ relations to production and sociallyproductive labour. Its emergent successor, the concept of the‘chav’, is in contrast oriented to purportedly pathologicalclass dispositions in relation to the sphere of consumption. In a bid tohighlight this shift we consider the emergence of debates upon social marginalityand consumption practices, and attempt to locate popular media discourse surroundingthe ‘chav’ within this frame, including the various ways inwhich purportedly pathological consumption practices serve to organise this form ofsocial classification.

Journal

Crime, Media, Culture: An International JournalSAGE

Published: Apr 1, 2006

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