By Simon J. Charlesworth
Charlesworth examines topics of poverty and sophistication by means of targeting a selected town--Rotherham--in South Yorkshire, England, and utilizing the non-public testimony of deprived those that reside there, bought via recorded interviews and conversations. He applies to their lifestyles tales the interpretative instruments of philosophy and social thought, drawing particularly at the paintings of Pierre Bourdieu and Merleau-Ponty. Charlesworth argues the tradition defined during this booklet isn't precise to Rotherham and the issues pointed out during this publication could be generic to economically powerless and politically dispossessed humans far and wide.
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Additional info for A Phenomenology of Working-Class Experience
And now the same people return to participate as consumers. Yet these areas were lucky: they were redeveloped for retail, for service and thus for consumption, however short-changed workers have been in the process of replacing well-paid manual work with low-paid service work. For the rest of the area, there is simply devastation, at one point, the largest areas of industrial dereliction in Europe. Yet Rotherham’s history was not always so bleak. 1 By the beginning of the eighteenth century, Rotherham was a prosperous small market town with a population of two and half thousand people, a population which meant it was comparable in size to its neighbor on the River Don, Sheffield.
If we are to appreciate the impact of the barely perceived minutiae of an environment that exists as an inexpressibly complex mixture of architecturally given space; of inherited historical sense; of social practices; of behaviors and institutions; of the space that particular persons live through as body-subjects, then we need to understand the relation of persons to their environment as something deeper than the relation of subject and object. We need to have a developed sense of the ways in which human beings inhabit the places in which they exist, and realize that the milieux through which people come to understanding are cultural–historical contexts where things count, or ‘show-up’, in distinct ways, the sense of which is carried by the communal practices of one’s immediate group and its relation to national political and economic structures.
It is a place in which life is consumed by the ordinary everyday mundanity of a people who are excluded from anything approximating to a form of civil society. It is a life of banal tragedy in which human energy is sapped by the consummate wastefulness of a welfare system which aggressively disciplines working people so as to achieve the chimera of efficiency in the nation’s human resources. So, perception of the environment rarely rises to that level of objectification that the conditions of contemplation might allow.
A Phenomenology of Working-Class Experience by Simon J. Charlesworth