Explanations of how identities are constructed are fundamental to contemporary debates in feminism and in cultural and social theory. Formations of Class & Gender demonstrates why class should be featured more prominently in theoretical accounts of gender, identity and power. Beverley Skeggs identifies the neglect of class, and shows how class and gender must be fused together to produce an accurate representation of power relations in modern society. The book questions how theoretical frameworks are generated for understanding how women live and produce themselves through social and cultural relations. It uses detailed ethnographic research to explain how ‘real’ women inhabit and occupy the social and cultural posit
Chapter 1: Introduction: Processes, Frameworks and Motivations
Introduction: Processes, Frameworks and Motivations
I think my clothing says I'm respectable. [Mary, 1992]
All my life I've wanted to say ‘look I'm as good as you’, well now I think this house says it. It says ‘I've made it, I'm respectable and you can't put me down’. [Yvonne, 1992]
Respectability is one of the most ubiquitous signifiers of class. It informs how we speak, who we speak to, how we classify others, what we study and how we know who we are (or are not). Respectability is usually the concern of those who are not seen to have it. Respectability would not be of concern here, if the working classes (Black and White) had not consistently been classified as dangerous, polluting, threatening, ...