Owen Jones spoke about Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class on BBC Breakfast yesterday morning.
Joined by Daily Mail journalist Harry Phibbs, Owen talked about how the working class have increasingly become an object of fear and ridicule in modern Britain. In an enlivening debate, the discussion looked at commonly held attitudes towards the term 'chav,' and examined what such attitudes say about the social divides still apparent across Brtitain today.
Visit BBC Breakfast to watch the interview
Few North American readers will be familiar with the derogatory term chavs, as described by Owen Jones in his latest book, but they are no doubt well versed in the collective consciousness of the subtitle 'The Demonization of the Working Class.' The idea of "welfare queens" being an almost universal pejorative across the neoliberal universe. Pulitzer Prize winning writer Connie Schultz describes the term as the rough equivalent of North America's "trailer trash" in a review of Chavs in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Jones, she writes,
is at his strongest when he reports on real events, such as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's methodical dissembling of her country's manufacturing base. He also deftly dissects how British media increasingly promote a disregard for the real lives of the underprivileged.
Owen Jones was interviewed by Samuel Grove for the New Left Project about the 'chav' phenomenon, the crisis of working-class representation in politics and media, and a new class politics for the 21st century.
Under a headline stating that “a British class war is raging,” the New York Times recently published a glowing review of Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class, accompanied by a lengthy excerpt from the same book.
Reviewer Dwight Garner describes author Owen Jones as “hideously talented”:
Reading Chavs, I often cursed aloud as if I’d banged my thumb with a mallet, which is how I express keen literary pleasure until I can arrive at something more coherent to say.