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  • Published: 21 April 2016
  • ISBN: 9781846142079
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook

Respectable




We talk a lot about the role class plays in British society, but how exactly do we move from one 'class' to another - and, if we can do so, what effect does it have on us? In this powerful book, part memoir, part social analysis, Lynsey Hanley explains that to be 'respectable' is to be neither rough nor posh, neither rich nor especially poor. Drawing on her own experience growing up on the Birmingham estate of Chelmsley Wood - living through the Thatcher years, listening to the Pet Shop Boys and Erasure, reading her parents' Daily Mirror and her grandparents' Sun - Hanley shows how social mobility can be double-edged unless we recognize the psychological impact of class and its creation of self-limiting obstacles.%%%Society is often talked about as a ladder, which you can climb from bottom to top. The walls are less talked about. This book is about how people try to get over them, what it means if they do, and how class affects all of us.In autumn 1992, growing up on the vast Birmingham estate of Chelmsley Wood, the sixteen-year-old Lynsey Hanley went to sixth-form college. She knew that it would change her life but was entirely unprepared for the price she would have to pay: to abandon her working-class world and become middle class.Class remains resolutely with us, as strongly present as it was fifty years ago. Entwined with it is the idea of aspiration, of social mobility, which received wisdom tells us is an unequivocally positive phenomenon for individuals and for society as a whole. Yet for the many millions who experience it, changing class is like emigrating from one side of the world to the other, a lonely, anxious, psychologically disruptive process of uprooting, which leaves people divided between the place they left and the place they have to inhabit in order to get on. In this empathic, wry and passionate exploration of class in Britain today, Lynsey Hanley looks at how people are kept apart, and keep themselves apart - and the costs involved in the journey from 'there' to 'here'.%%%Society is often talked about as a ladder, which you can climb from bottom to top. The walls are less talked about. This book is about how people try to get over them, what it means if they do, and how class affects all of us.In autumn 1992, growing up on a vast Birmingham estate, the sixteen-year-old Lynsey Hanley went to sixth-form college. She knew that it would change her life but was entirely unprepared for the price she would have to pay: to leave behind her working-class world and become middle class.Class remains resolutely with us, as strongly present as it was fifty years ago. Entwined with it is the idea of aspiration, of social mobility, which received wisdom tells us is an unequivocally positive phenomenon for individuals and for society as a whole. Yet for the many millions who experience it, changing class is like emigrating from one side of the world to the other, a lonely, anxious, psychologically disruptive process of uprooting, which leaves people divided between the place they left and the place they have to inhabit in order to get on. In this empathic, wry and passionate exploration of class in Britain today, Lynsey Hanley looks at how people are kept apart, and keep themselves apart - and the costs involved in the journey from 'there' to 'here'.

  • Published: 21 April 2016
  • ISBN: 9781846142079
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook

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