Strivers vs skivers: Class prejudice and the demonisation of dependency in everyday life

Gill Valentine, Catherine Harris

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    88 Citations (Scopus)
    145 Downloads (Pure)


    This paper focuses on the moral dimension of everyday lives, using original empirical material about the judgments we make about others to explore and understand the contemporary nature of class prejudice. In doing so, we pay attention to the relationship between class prejudice and other forms of stigma and discrimination by exploring the complex (re)alignment of associations between different social groups (including working class people, disabled people, asylum seekers) in processes of ‘othering’ and exclusion. The research highlights the potential shared interest of groups who are demonised for being ‘in need’ to challenge the contemporary hegemony of the individualised ethic of self-interest which is producing a process of de-socialisation in which the importance of values such as care, compassion and social responsibility risk becoming casualties with inevitable consequences for social cohesion. Rather, the paper concludes by arguing for a re-socialisation of politics that recognises the structural causes of inequalities and which values and promotes understandings across, instead of moral judgements of, difference and our social obligations towards each other.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)84-92
    Number of pages9
    Early online date13 Mar 2014
    Publication statusPublished - May 2014


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