Poll: Pick one.
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View poll results: Pick one.
I think there is such a thing as the underclass, and it is a problem.
67 70%
I think there is such a thing as the underclass, and it is not a problem.
13 14%
I do not think there is such a thing as the underclass.
16 17%
Voters: 96.
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#1
Now, I realise this is a touchy subject and will probably get blown out of proportion, but I was just wondering what people thought of the concept of (drum roll please).... The Underclass.

Some people argue that a new social breed has been spawning for a while now, whereby people don't even warrant the term working class because, well, they don't work. 'The Shameless Generation', the chavs, etc. are terms that comes to mind.

Firstly, how much of this do you buy into? Have we allowed for a new underclass of society to come about, and how big of a problem do you think it is?

Secondly, if you believe that there is such a thing as an underclass, how can this be combatted?
Last edited by fender_696 at Nov 29, 2011,
#3
Poll says enough. 100% voted for: yes and it's a problem. I will re-open Auschwitz now.
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#4
Its The Daily Mail. That's the problem.
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#5
or my god man fuck off if i wanna be on the dole an tha i will so go fuck yaself yo posh wanker
Sing me to sleep.
#6
the roblem is the manner of how people are bought up, i have noticed people from violent familes, tend to be dicks themselves. i maen its not a solid rule, there are plenty of pgood eggs, it's just the majority. also being spoilt is another reason. parents spending above their means to make sure their kids have all the new things. if i wanted a 360, or a phone I paid for it. if people grow up having things handed to them in life they will always live like thah
#8
The underclass is something new, these days? Poor people living lifes filled with petty crimes? That's been around for ages. Even the Romans and the ancient Chinese people complained about it.
#9
I see the underclass (also known as chav scum) walk past the office all day.

Leftys have said by calling them chavs we are demonising the working class.

To be working class, by definition you have to work. I consider myself to be working class.

The scum you see on jeremy kyle who shat out about five kids to as many different dads before the age of 24 and have never worked a day in their life and a good weekend involves sat on the sofa eating Iceland chicken tikka lasagne with a 12 pack of Stella are NOT working class. They are an underclass, they are the untouchables.

The contribute nothing but take everything. Would it really be so bad if we just put them all in a rocket and fired it into the sun?
#10
Quote by Sherlock_Bones
I resent that, just because I believe in it and think it a problem, I'm being lumped in with Daily Mail readers.
It was meant as a bit of a joke, taking the piss out of people who instantly dismiss an argument against their left-wing bias as "Daily Mail fodder".

I got rid of it though; didn't want it to be a focus of the discussion.


EDIT: And, if this is the case, how do we aid the situation? I mean, it seemed that, previously, a lot of people used to get apprenticeships and trades, or worked in the factory. Or the mines. Or whatever. The working class as it were.

Now, we don't really produce anything and have sky-rocketing unemployment.

Could we not try and re-institute more jobs?
Last edited by fender_696 at Nov 29, 2011,
#11
Owen Jones has a really interesting take on how the "chav" image is linked to the complete disenfranchisement and collapse of the traditional working class, excusing snobbery and punitive measures instead of actually empowering them.

More or less. Haven't read the book, just reviews and articles around it. Chav: The demonisation of the working class
#12
The "underclass" has always been and always will be a part of every society on the planet. Maybe there's a couple of exceptions here and there, but not many. Definitely none I can think of off the top of my head.
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#13
Quote by gabcd86
Owen Jones has a really interesting take on how the "chav" image is linked to the complete disenfranchisement and collapse of the traditional working class, excusing snobbery and punitive measures instead of actually empowering them.

More or less. Haven't read the book, just reviews and articles around it. Chav: The demonisation of the working class


You have to work to be working class. The clue is in the title.

I believe the OP is talking about the dole scum who somehow claim incapacity benefit and go on more holidays and drive a better car than me despite the fact they havent lifted a finger in the past ten years apart from to open another can of Stella and i work 40hrs a week
#15
Quote by LivinJoke84
You have to work to be working class. The clue is in the title.

I believe the OP is talking about the dole scum who somehow claim incapacity benefit and go on more holidays and drive a better car than me despite the fact they havent lifted a finger in the past ten years apart from to open another can of Stella and i work 40hrs a week


Actually, there are many definitions of class and especially working class. lrn2sociology

And these people who are "chavs" are from working class backgrounds. Also, you are definitely the Daily Mail reader the OP referred to.
#16
Quote by LivinJoke84
You have to work to be working class. The clue is in the title.

I believe the OP is talking about the dole scum who somehow claim incapacity benefit and go on more holidays and drive a better car than me despite the fact they havent lifted a finger in the past ten years apart from to open another can of Stella and i work 40hrs a week



Clearly you didn't read past the title. The book is about the caricature of the 'dole scum' (as you so intelligently put it) in the media which obscures the reality of increasing inequality in Britain.

EDIT: That said, I do believe there is a difference between members of the working class and members of what you might call a 'lumpenproletariat'. If we use the word 'chav', it's pretty obvious that the kind of people you are demonising occupy a different social status to people who, say, work in a factory. They aren't really engaged in the whole capitalist system of production, largely I think because of out-sourcing of labour to 'cheaper' countries.

And yes, on a personal level, in my experience such people are dickheads.
Last edited by Pagan-Pie at Nov 29, 2011,
#17
Quote by gabcd86
Actually, there are many definitions of class and especially working class. lrn2sociology

And these people who are "chavs" are from working class backgrounds. Also, you are definitely the Daily Mail reader the OP referred to.
But, what I was trying to get at is: are these so-called "chavs" from the underclass? Not working class backgrounds.

There are certain differences that can be derived from the two terms.
#18
Quote by gabcd86
Actually, there are many definitions of class and especially working class. lrn2sociology

And these people who are "chavs" are from working class backgrounds. Also, you are definitely the Daily Mail reader the OP referred to.


I only actually read the Daily Mail for a laugh.

Dont think im some middle class toff who drives a BMW and turns my nose up at anything that isnt grammar school educated.

Originally yes, they did come from working class families but now weve got people who dont work, have never and will never work, coming from parents who are exactly the same.

I see em everyday mate, work for a family solicitor who does legal aid. Maybe its that thats just made me a little jaded.
#19
Quote by fender_696
But, what I was trying to get at is: are these so-called "chavs" from the underclass? Not working class backgrounds.

There are certain differences that can be derived from the two terms.


I think underclass is a facile way used by mainstream politicans and the media to obscure, as Pagan Pie said, growing inequality and their inability to provide any meaningful solutions to it. It's also horribly elitist and snobbish.


EDIT:

And that's precisely the bloody problem - they never will work, because there are no jobs, and even if the economy does recover, a long period of unemployment, especially early in life, can damage you for life - lost generation anyone?
Last edited by gabcd86 at Nov 29, 2011,
#20
Quote by gabcd86
I think underclass is a facile way used by mainstream politicans and the media to obscure, as Pagan Pie said, growing inequality and their inability to provide any meaningful solutions to it. It's also horribly elitist and snobbish.
But, for something to be able to be defined, it must surely exist, in theory at least?




EDIT: And I think it's a vicious circle. Lack of jobs means higher unemployment, which means less willingness or reason to work, which results in higher unemployment etc..
Last edited by fender_696 at Nov 29, 2011,
#21
I don't like the term 'underclass' either but I think the people being referred to are, sociologically speaking, different from the 'working classes', though I would suggest that the latter has anachronistic connotations.
#22
Quote by LivinJoke84
You have to work to be working class. The clue is in the title.


Herp derp

Working class (or lower class, labouring class) is a term used in the social sciences and in ordinary conversation to describe those employed in lower tier jobs (as measured by skill, education and lower incomes), often extending to those in unemployment or otherwise possessing below-average incomes.
I walk the line between fantasy and reality. One is more fun, the other is where the food is.
#24
Quote by Pagan-Pie
I don't like the term 'underclass' either but I think the people being referred to are, sociologically speaking, different from the 'working classes', though I would suggest that the latter has anachronistic connotations.


Depends how you define class, I guess. From a Marxist point of view, which is the one I generally use, they're actually quite tricky - they neither sell their labour nor buy labour, so I don't know where they fit in. But I think if you take a Weberian point of view, looking at stuff like revenue, modes of consumption, lifestyle - what people usually think of as class, then I think there's a lot of parallels to be drawn between what I would call today's working class, which, incidentally, I don't think has anything to do with factories and mines as so many people do today.
#26
Quote by LivinJoke84
Its on Wikipedia so it must be true


You attacked the source, so you must be lost for words.
I walk the line between fantasy and reality. One is more fun, the other is where the food is.
#27
Quote by gabcd86
Depends how you define class, I guess. From a Marxist point of view, which is the one I generally use, they're actually quite tricky - they neither sell their labour nor buy labour, so I don't know where they fit in. But I think if you take a Weberian point of view, looking at stuff like revenue, modes of consumption, lifestyle - what people usually think of as class, then I think there's a lot of parallels to be drawn between what I would call today's working class, which, incidentally, I don't think has anything to do with factories and mines as so many people do today.



I would argue, probably along Marxist lines, that people who are today colloquially described as 'middle class' are in fact 'working class' in that they sell their labour etc. In terms of lifestyle, I think the 'underclass' is difficult because theirs isn't related to the wage system/capitalism. In other words, they have less money than what I call 'working class' people (mostly anyway), but not because they are more exploited by capitalism, but because you just don't get a lot of money from unemployment benefits.

There are a lot of potential solutions to this problem, but they will all annoy liberal, pseudo-leftist Guardian readers.

EDIT: ^ No, he was suggesting that it was stupid of you to suggest that the ultimate definition of a very complex term can be satisfactorily be found on wikipedia.
#28
Quote by Pagan-Pie
No, he was suggesting that it was stupid of you to suggest that the ultimate definition of a very complex term can be satisfactorily be found on wikipedia.


I'd say the same for defining a complex term merely at face value, as he did.

I'm not going to bother myself to search the ends of the internet to show one guy that "working class" can mean more than one thing. The fact that one wiki search can show there is accepted dissent to his use of the term is enough for me.
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#29
I would argue, probably along Marxist lines, that people who are today colloquially described as 'middle class' are in fact 'working class' in that they sell their labour etc.
/quote]

Agreed.

In terms of lifestyle, I think the 'underclass' is difficult because theirs isn't related to the wage system/capitalism. In other words, they have less money than what I call 'working class' people (mostly anyway), but not because they are more exploited by capitalism, but because you just don't get a lot of money from unemployment benefits.


Agreed, though I'm tempted to try and make an argument along the lines of benefits being the state giving labour power what it needs to sustain itself, at which point it'd have more of an interplay with the economy at large. Not sure though, but I think there must be a way to tie them in.


There are a lot of potential solutions to this problem, but they will all annoy liberal, pseudo-leftist Guardian readers.


To be fair, they also have a fair few solutions. But yeah, can't help but thinking the disenfranchised reserve army of labour is a pretty integral part of the system.
#30
I don't know about in Britain, but in America it seems like the majority of the "underclass" consists of groups who for various reasons historically never got a chance to become part of the working class. Examples would be inner-city blacks (legacy of slavery), poor rural Southern whites (same, since slave-owners didn't have to hire paid labor), Native Americans (survivors of genocide), and others. And I want to stress that I'm NOT implying that everyone from those groups is part of the underclass, just that in general the underclass consists of people from those groups and groups in similar historical situations. Basically, if you could get a working class job, no matter how shitty, your descendents could work their way up the ladder. If you and your people were denied anything above subsistence living for generations, however, eventually the cycle of poverty became entrenched.
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#31
Quote by gabcd86
I think underclass is a facile way used by mainstream politicans and the media to obscure, as Pagan Pie said, growing inequality and their inability to provide any meaningful solutions to it. It's also horribly elitist and snobbish.


This.

Although hooligans, "chavs", are obnoxious no matter what imaginary class they fit into
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Last edited by Dreadnought at Nov 29, 2011,
#32
Quote by Cap'n Braid
I'd say the same for defining a complex term merely at face value, as he did.

I'm not going to bother myself to search the ends of the internet to show one guy that "working class" can mean more than one thing. The fact that one wiki search can show there is accepted dissent to his use of the term is enough for me.


I know what you are trying to say and i know the people we are discussing are probably classed as working class.

I was just saying that:
a) its a little ironic that they are considered working class, when they dont work and have no intention to
b) I consider myself to be working class and i do not want to be associated on any level with the type of people i have to deal with day in day out.

I hear the arguments about them being the lost generation and all that and how they are products of a bad circumstances etc etc but it seems to me that a lot of the people who make these arguments often live in some nice leafy suburb in their four bed detached house and feel that by somehow defending these people it makes them seem like theyre somehow in touch with them.

When you have grown up surrounded by people like that, have had to see first hand the type of people down at the job centre are like, deal with them every day at work one might have a slightly more negative view.
#33
Quote by LivinJoke84
I know what you are trying to say and i know the people we are discussing are probably classed as working class.

I was just saying that:


a) its a little ironic that they are considered working class, when they dont work and have no intention to


You can judge someone based on what they do all you want, but intentions are something that only they know. I understand your sentiment, and I notice this same thing, but its risky to assume broad groups of people share one intention or one lack of intention.

b) I consider myself to be working class and i do not want to be associated on any level with the type of people i have to deal with day in day out.


Then don't be like them. Their existence isn't a day to day burden on your own life, no matter how annoying they can be.

I hear the arguments about them being the lost generation and all that and how they are products of a bad circumstances etc etc but it seems to me that a lot of the people who make these arguments often live in some nice leafy suburb in their four bed detached house and feel that by somehow defending these people it makes them seem like theyre somehow in touch with them.

When you have grown up surrounded by people like that, have had to see first hand the type of people down at the job centre are like, deal with them every day at work one might have a slightly more negative view.


Think of their lives. Imagine having parents who didn't work. Imagine having no relatives who made it past high school, and many who didn't make it that far. Imagine trying to do something that no one in your family has prior experience in, to help you along.

I'm from a mid-level working class family, myself. Dad works at an auto-plant, mom stayed home most of my life, and neither went to college for more than a year. Hell, no one in the generation before mine in my entire family went to college. I'm a fairly intelligent person, and I'm not saying that to toot my own horn, but I know that I could succeed in college if I gave it the fair shake. What happened when I went? I realized my parents gave me their advice, which was based off what they imagined succeeding in college was, and kinda made every other bit of advice up.

And now I sit here working as a janitor for my keep.

Of course, anecdotes are useless, but I'm saying parents have a HUGE influence on people. More than you can imagine, and more than I imagined up until recently.

There's one simple rule to understanding people's actions: They're either striving to benefit themselves in the best way they know or avoid suffering in the best way they know.

Anyways, I work night shift and its morning, so I'm probably a little more ramblerambleramble than I think I am. I'll leave this here and go from there.

Also: Personal apologies for coming off as a dick earlier. I just get annoyed when people think words and definitions line up in the actual word all the time. Its like saying America is a democracy or something.
I walk the line between fantasy and reality. One is more fun, the other is where the food is.
Last edited by Cap'n Braid at Nov 29, 2011,
#35
Yes, it's a problem.
Yes, it must be fixed.
No, it's not gonna work in our modern society where individualism comes first.

All said.
#36
Quote by Lord_Doku
Yes, it's a problem.
Yes, it must be fixed.
No, it's not gonna work in our modern society where individualism comes first.

All said.

How does individualism come first in our society?
#37
Quote by ali.guitarkid7
I have no idea what the underclass are exactly. Are you referring to people who are unemployed?


There's no single definition of underclass, but generally it refers to a group of people with a shared history who are stuck in a deeply entrenched cycle of poverty, violence, and broken families. Simply being unemployed doesn't make you part of the underclass by any means, and just because you have a job doesn't necessarily mean you're not part of it. However, it's a very fluid and ill-defined term, so take what I (and everyone else in this thread) say with a grain of salt.
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#40
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