Popular views of white working-class communities are common but knowledge of their views on multiculturalism and change less so. This important book provides the first substantial analysis of white working-class perspectives on themes of multiculturalism and change in the UK, creating an opportunity for these 'silent voices' to be heard. Based on over 200 interviews in multiple sites the results are startling - challenging politicians, policy makers and researchers. Improving our understanding of how this group went from 'hero to zero', became framed as racist, resistant to change and disconnected from politics, the book suggests a new and progressive agenda for white working class communities to become a fully inclusive part of a modern and diverse country in the 21st century. The book will be valuable to academics and students as well as policy-makers and practitioners in national government and organisations.
Dr Harris Beider is Chair in Community Cohesion at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations Coventry University. Previously he was Visiting Professor at Columbia University in New York City and Senior Fellow at the University of Birmingham. He spent 10 years as a community development worker and leading two national organizations focused on race, housing and renewal. A frequent commentator, he has written about the issues of race, community and identity in books and papers and spoken about these subjects nationally and internationally.
From hero to zero: the decline of the white working class;
The birth of chav culture: stereotypes and exclusion;
White working class and racist? An exploration;
A reactionary voice: nuanced views on multiculturalism;
Integrated and equal: similar challenges and opportunities;
Reshaping white working class identities: inclusive and progressive;
An agenda for change.
“Unafraid of complicating the story rather than cutting corners, Beider digs around in the untidy spaces between the personal and the collective, and between antipathy and solidarity in this engaging and revealing exploration of white working-class responses to, and investments in multicultural Britain” Steve Garner, Open University
"A very timely addition in the contemporary debate relating to the intersectionality of social class." - Journal of Social Policy
“While racial conflict remains a very real problem, with significant effects on politics and policy, this book reminds us that racism transcends traditional class boundaries and focuses on the best source for understanding working-class culture – the lived experiences and the voices of working-class people.” Sherry Linkon, Georgetown University, USA
"Harris Beider prioritises the voices of people in white, working-class communities – providing a rich and provocative analysis of ethnicity, class, power and representation. This book is a vital – and timely - resource for policy-makers." Julia Unwin, Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation