Class in Australia

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Steven Threadgold, Jessica Gerrard
Monash University Publishing, 2022 - Social Science - 288 pages
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Two decades since it was claimed that class is dead, social, economic and cultural inequalities are rising. Though Australia is often described as a 'lucky country' with a strong economy, we are witness to intensifying inequality with entrenched poverty and the growth of precarious and insecure labour. The disconnect of the rusted-on Labor voter and the rise of far-right politics suggest there is an urgent need to examine the contemporary functions of class relations. Class analysis in Australia has always had a contested position. The prominence of scholarship from the UK and US has often meant class analysis in Australia has had little to say about its settler colonial history and the past and present dynamics of race and racism that are deeply embedded in social and labour relations. In the post-war turn away from Marx and subsequent embrace of Bourdieu, much sociological research on class has focused on explorations of consumption and culture. Long-standing feminist critiques of the absence of gendered labour in class analysis also pose challenges for understanding and researching class. At a time of deepening inequality, Class in Australia brings together a range of new and original research for a timely examination of class relations, labour exploitation, and the changing formations of work in contemporary Australian society.

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About the author (2022)

Jessica Gerrard is an Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne's Melbourne Graduate School of Education. Her research is on the changing formations and lived experiences of social inequalities in relation to education, activism, work, and unemployment. She works across the disciplines of sociology, history, and policy studies with an interest in critical methodologies and theories. She is the author of Precarious Enterprise on the Margins: Work, Poverty and Homelessness in the City (2017) and Radical Childhoods: Schooling and the Struggle for Social Change (2014). Steven Threadgold is Associate Professor of Sociology at University of Newcastle. His research focuses on youth and class, with particular interests in unequal and alternate work and career trajectories; underground and independent creative scenes; and cultural formations of taste. Steve is the co-director of the Newcastle Youth Studies Network, an Associate Editor of Journal of Youth Studies, and on the Editorial Boards of The Sociological Review and Journal of Applied Youth Studies.

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