Framing The World Through My Photographs
Tyler in this extract ‘ Britain and it’s poor’ looks into the new and old forms of the British class system. Although it may have seemed that in Britain today we do not live by the the class system i.e. upper, middle and lower class instead it comes under new forms and identities. The text examines Tony Blair and the new labour party. New labour set out to ‘defang oppositional class politics. Blair stated ‘the Britain of the elite is over. The new Britain is meritocracy (1997). George Orwell writes in 1941 “England is the most class ridden country under the sun.” Tyler refers largely to the work of Ranciere who defines class as a grouping of people assigned a particular status and rank according to their orgin or their activity and this is seen most clearly in the’ chav’ – a name for the ‘underclass’ in Britain’ this is a group of young people disenfranchised by neoliberal economic and social policies. Through the policies of new labour of the decreasing of the welfare state in order to try to make the citizens take responsibilities for their own actions, and only through work this can happen. However the sorts of low paid work available to the ‘lower classes’ keep them in poverty rather than lifting them out of it.
“As a neoliberal name for the ‘poor of Britain’, chav enables those who use invoke or indeed preform this name to constitute themselves as ‘other than poor’. In respect, the figure of the chav reveals much more about the imperatives of neoliberal citizenship it does about the conditions of existence for the poor in neoliberalism Britain. ”
Tyler concludes class distinctions ‘do not die’. As neoliberalism wreaks it’s own brand of exploitation upon the people, class conflicts have heightened. The figure of the chav is the figure of class struggle in neoliberal Britain, which means attending to this figure, its meaning and efforts, is important.”