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Skegg's Bourdieu-influenced account of British cultures of class provides a useful empirical corrective to the more grandiose theorizing within recent cultural studies, underscoring not just the economic but the cultural and attitudinal gulf between working-class individuals and the left/feminist intellectuals who claim to be their allies. For this reason alone, it should be required reading.
In a discipline that boasts a high division of labour, this book goes a long way in dismantling the futile divide between class theory and feminism. It is an articulate and impassioned ethnography, fuelled by an anger of inequality but also an anger at those who are reluctant to challenge it. At a time when sociologists seem less concerned with the tangible and more interested in the abstract, Skeggs shows how these can be used productively together; theory becomes a means to an end rather than an end in itself... This book really deserves to be read and taken seriously.
This book is brilliant. Formations of Class and Gender is a sophisticated and passionately written account of the classed and gendered identities of a small group of working-class white women who live in the north-west of England. It is ethnography at its best, having been built on long-term, thoughtful engagements in the field. When Beverly Skeggs met these women they were all students on a variety of 'caring' courses at a further education college.
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