My book ‘Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class‘, published by Verso, is now out. It’s a slightly bizarre feeling that it’s actually hit the bookshops – I started writing it back in December 2009, which now seems like another age. And I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t been a nerve-wracking few weeks: it’s such an important issue that it’s better not to write it at all than screw it up. (I hope I haven’t).
But so far so good. It was the Times’ ‘Book of the Week’ on Saturday although, I’m afraid, the review is behind the paywall.
Polly Toynbee talked about it in her column yesterday:
“A superb and angry new book, Chavs by Owen Jones, published next week, pulls together the welter of evidence on the demonisation of the working class. Read it for a strong analysis of the conspiracy to deny the very existence of a working class, even to itself. New Labour colluded with this vanishing act but Ed Miliband’s espousal of the “squeezed middle” may be tiptoeing towards giving a voice back to the great disappeared.”
And Michael White has also mentioned it in a piece on class on Monday.
You can also hear me debating with the Telegraph’s James Delingpole on whether posh people are an oppressed minority (yes, seriously) on BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme, broadcast on Monday.
Richard Seymour has also written a really fascinating piece on ‘chavs’ and class over at Leninology; and I’ve read an absolutely fantastic piece on ‘chavs’ and council tenants, written by two housing policy experts. Thoroughly recommended.
If you want to hear me rambling about the book, here are some upcoming events. My first event is at Stoke Newington Literary Festival this Saturday at 4pm at Abney Hall. I’m very privileged to be doing the event with the journalists Johann Hari and Suzanne Moore. You can book tickets here – and say hello if you come along.
Above all I’d be really interested to hear people’s thoughts on the book when they’ve had a chance to have a shufty. If this book has any purpose, it’s to get people talking about class again – however small my contribution to that will be.
And, finally, I’m writing a post later which will try to answer ‘is chav-bashing really attacking working-class people?’