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'Underclass' and 'ordinary people' discourses: representing/re-presenting council tenants in a housing campaign

Watt, Paul (2008) 'Underclass' and 'ordinary people' discourses: representing/re-presenting council tenants in a housing campaign. Critical Discourse Studies 5 (4), pp. 345-357. ISSN 1740-5904.

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This paper employs critical discourse analysis to examine discourses of council (public) housing tenants. It focuses upon one example of housing activism, a local campaign that mobilized in opposition to a proposed stock transfer of council housing in South East England. The hegemonic societal-wide discourse regarding council tenants is that they constitute a socially excluded 'underclass', as in New Labour urban policy and the mass media. In contrast, the paper demonstrates how the housing campaign presented a counter-hegemonic discourse of tenants as 'ordinary people'. Drawing upon a textual analysis of campaign literature and letters to local newspapers, the paper illustrates how this populist discourse abjured an explicit reference to class identity, but at the same time managed to effectively signify class inequality.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): working class, underclass, class identity, habitus, council tenants, stock transfer, housing activism, New Labour, neoliberalism, rhetoric, newspaper letters
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Geography, Environment and Development Studies
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2011 10:55
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2013 14:33

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