The working class identity crisis

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Why we can’t ignore the working-class identity crisis


¨It is no exaggeration to say that the working class in Britain is in the throes of an identity crisis. It is particularly noticeable in those towns which a few decades ago were thriving centres of industry – former colliery towns, for example, in the Midlands and South Wales. Places that are far from Westminster; places which voted overwhelmingly for Brexit.

Identities here were once strong, tied to work and community. But in recent decades this proud demeanour has been replaced by something closer to humiliation. That’s why the ‘take back control’ rhetoric of the Brexit referendum resounded so powerfully in these parts of the country: the idea of ‘globalisation’ is here synonymous with the destruction of old industry and its replacement with insecure work in warehouses and call centres, much of not even done by the locals.

In Rugeley, as in many other working-class towns, identity – particularly male identity – was at one time  something that was forged by work, something that was shared¨

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