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Tainted markers of taste: "chavs", working-class culture and local style
University of Borås, Swedish School of Textiles.
2011 (English)Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper draws primarily on findings from an ethnographic study conducted in a marginalized area on the outskirts of South London, but also on analyses of web sites, newspapers and popular culture. The paper focuses on the young white working-class people in the area, and it examines their formation of identity in relation to visual markers of taste. The context of the study is the recent moral panic in Britain over ‘chavs’. In public discourse, the term emerged as a way of pathologizing white working-class youths adopting specific markers of taste. The study shows that most respondents, and the area in general, were positioned in the stigmatizing discourse on ‘chavs’, and the spaces and places that they are associated with. When interpreting the meaning of ‘chav’, the respondents drew strong boundaries against the term, and used it to categorize others. Many respondents also made strong distinctions against markers of middle-class taste. In contrast to earlier research, the notion of ‘chav’ is not related to a subcultural style adopted by socially excluded groups of youths, but primarily a form of categorization serving to pathologize important aspects of the working-class culture in the area. This is particularly the case with the local style or fashion, which has become symbolically tainted by being associated with ‘chavs’. In conclusion, the paper shows the power of classed markers of taste in positioning people and in shaping their identities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linnéuniversitetet , 2011.
Keyword [en]
consumption, style, class, identity, taste, Consumer cultures, Identity formation, Social divisions
Keyword [sv]
chavs, stigma
National Category
Sociology Social Anthropology
Research subject
Textiles and Fashion (General)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-6676Local ID: 2320/9779OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-6676DiVA: diva2:887375
Conference
Kultursociologisk konferens, Campus Växjö, 18-19 november 2011.
Available from: 2015-12-22 Created: 2015-12-22

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Permanent link

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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
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