Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class by Owen Jones - review by Amelia Gentleman

Amelia Gentleman

Classed Off

Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class


Verso 298pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

Owen Jones opens Chavs with an uncomfortable vignette from an east London dinner party where, a few months after the start of the credit crunch, a group of well-educated professionals are eating a blackcurrant cheesecake. ‘Suddenly, one of the hosts tried to raise the mood by throwing in a light-hearted joke. “It’s sad that Woolworth’s is closing. Where will all the chavs buy their Christmas presents?”’

Jones’s companions that night would place themselves left-of-centre politically, he thinks: 

They would have bristled at being labelled a snob. If a stranger had attended that evening and disgraced him or herself by bandying around a word like ‘Paki’ or ‘poof’, they would have found themselves swiftly

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