A Note on Class, Dispositions and Radical Politics

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2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper has set itself a number of tasks. The starting point is with
Smyth and Simmons’ discussion of the affective dispositions of the
working class. Rather than exploring the dispositions of members of the
working class, the paper examines the attribution of these, not only to the
working class but also to other groups. Research addressing the
capitalist division of labour in the early years of the twenty’s century has
illustrated the arbitrariness of this process. This leads into a discussion
of the attribution of dispositions and the salience not only of the
corporate gaze, but also the white gaze as well as those related to the
class, age, race and gender. Research that has addressed aesthetic
labour has often attributed ‘looking good’ and ‘sounding right’ to people
who are assumed to be middle class, the consequence is that an
understanding of class as a relation to capital is underplayed as is the
resulting politics. A homogenised view of the working class is debilitating
and leads to a restrictive understanding of class. Such as stance ignores
the re-composition of class relations and the potential for alliances that
include members of this putative middle class. An engagement with the
affective dispositions of the working class may serve to construct an
image of a homogeneous potentially radical class, yet at the same time it
serves to exclude constituencies that could play an important role in the struggle for a just society. Such as struggle would presage alliances in
the pursuit of a socially just society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-184
Number of pages19
JournalJournal for Critical Education Policy Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


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