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`I can't believe I bought a toaster with no bagel setting!' `Irritating... just done a massive pre-cleaner clean, and they've just texted to say they're not coming!' Have you ever had to buy cava because the shop's out of champagne? Ever put too much wasabi on your sushi? Or maybe your latest lifestyle post on social media didn't get enough likes? Well, the struggles are real and you're not alone. Cheekily illustrated throughout, this book showcases these and other first-world problems that might find you wincing in self-recognition.
The Times Book of the Year 2019 'You should not deny yourself the pleasure of reading it' Sunday Times 'A remarkable work and an important addition to the extraordinary wartime history of literary London' Literary Review Who were the Lost Girls? At least a dozen or so young women at large in Blitz-era London have a claim to this title. But Lost Girls concentrates on just four: Lys Lubbock, Sonia Brownell, Barbara Skelton and Janetta Parlade. Chic, glamorous and bohemian, as likely to be found living in a rat-haunted maisonette as dining at the Ritz, they cut a swathe through English literary and artistic life in the 1940s. Three of them had affairs with Lucian Freud. One of them married George Orwell. Another became the mistress of the King of Egypt and was flogged by him on the steps of the Royal Palace. And all of them were associated with the decade's most celebrated literary magazine, Horizon, and its charismatic editor Cyril Connolly. Lys, Sonia, Barbara and Janetta had very different - and sometimes explosive personalities - but taken together they form a distinctive part of the war-time demographic: bright, beautiful, independent-minded women with tough upbringings behind them determined to make the most of their lives in a highly uncertain environment. Theirs was the world of the buzz bomb, the cocktail party behind blackout curtains, the severed hand seen on the pavement in the Bloomsbury square, the rustle of a telegram falling through the letter-box, the hasty farewell to another half who might not ever come back, a world of living for the moment and snatching at pleasure before it disappeared. But if their trail runs through vast acreages of war-time cultural life then, in the end, it returns to Connolly and his amorous web-spinning, in which all four of them regularly featured and which sometimes complicated their emotional lives to the point of meltdown. The Lost Girls were the product of a highly artificial environment. After it came to an end - on Horizon's closure in 1950 - their careers wound on. Later they would have affairs with dukes, feature in celebrity divorce cases and make appearances in the novels of George Orwell, Evelyn Waugh, Anthony Powell and Nancy Mitford. The last of them - Janetta - died as recently as three months ago. However tiny their number, they are a genuine missing link between the first wave of newly-liberated young women of the post-Great War era and the Dionysiac free-for-all of the 1960s. Hectic, passionate and at times unexpectedly poignant, this is their story.
In his scathing The Theory of the Leisure Class, Thorstein Veblen
produced a landmark study of affluent American society that
exposes, with brilliant ruthlessness, the habits of production and
waste that link invidious business tactics and barbaric social
behavior. Veblen's analysis of the evolutionary process sees greed
as the overriding motive in the modern economy, and with an
impartial gaze he examines the human cost paid when social
institutions exploit the consumption of unessential goods for the
sake of personal profit. Fashion, beauty, animals, sports, the
home, the clergy, scholars--all are assessed for their true
usefulness and found wanting. Indeed, Veblen's critique covers all
aspects of modern life from dress, class, the position of women,
home decoration, industry, business, and sport, to religion,
scholarship, and education. The targets of Veblen's coruscating
satire are as evident today as they were a century ago, and his
book still has the power to shock and enlighten. Martha Banta's
introduction illuminates Veblen's uncompromising arguments as it
highlights the literary force of Veblen's writing and its influence
on later American writers such as Edith Wharton, Henry James, Dos
Passos, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. She also sheds light on his
critique of the plight of women and his evolutionary arguments as
they relate to modern society.
Behind the scenes of the private world at the heart of royalty, as revealed by a distinguished royal commentator. This is the real story of what goes on inside the royal palaces, as witnessed by members of the royal staff and household past and present. Buckingham Palace is effectively an independent kingdom with its own rules and customs, now explained by Brian Hoey. Hundreds of anecdotes reveal the conditions in which the staff live and work and also their relationship with the Royals they serve. How does one get a job as personal footman to the Queen? Why does Prince Charles still have to send a note to her Page of the Backstairs requesting a meeting with his mother? How much do members of the household earn? Why does the Queen hate men in three-piece suits? Why are the Queen's bedsheets six inches longer than Prince Philip's? Why do her maids have to vacuum walking backwards? Why doesn't the Queen allow square ice-cubes to be put in her drinks?
"By the author of the acclaimed "The Rise and Fall of the British Empire" comes a "grand tour of the lives and impact of this truly remarkable breed." (The Washington Times)"
Aristocracy means "rule by the best." For nine hundred years, the British aristocracy has considered itself ideally qualified to rule others, make laws, and guide the fortunes of the nation. Tracing the history of this remarkable supremacy, "Aristocrats" is a story of civil wars, conquests, intrigue, chicanery, and extremes of both selflessness and greed.
Lawrence James also illuminates how the aristocracy's infatuation with classical art has forged English heritage, how its love of sport has shaped its pastimes and values, and how its scandals have entertained the public.
Impeccably researched, balanced, and brilliantly entertaining, "Aristocrats" is an enthralling history of power, influence, and an extraordinary knack for survival.
How the financial pressures of paying for college affect the lives and well-being of middle-class families The struggle to pay for college is one of the defining features of middle-class life in America today. At kitchen tables all across the country, parents agonize over whether to burden their children with loans or to sacrifice their own financial security by taking out a second mortgage or draining their retirement savings. Indebted takes readers into the homes of middle-class families throughout the nation to reveal the hidden consequences of student debt and the ways that financing college has transformed family life. Caitlin Zaloom gained the confidence of numerous parents and their college-age children, who talked candidly with her about stressful and intensely personal financial matters that are usually kept private. In this remarkable book, Zaloom describes the profound moral conflicts for parents as they try to honor what they see as their highest parental duty-providing their children with opportunity-and shows how parents and students alike are forced to take on enormous debts and gamble on an investment that might not pay off. What emerges is a troubling portrait of an American middle class fettered by the "student finance complex"-the bewildering labyrinth of government-sponsored institutions, profit-seeking firms, and university offices that collect information on household earnings and assets, assess family needs, and decide who is eligible for aid and who is not. Superbly written and unflinchingly honest, Indebted breaks through the culture of silence surrounding the student debt crisis, revealing the unspoken costs of sending our kids to college.
A rigorous, compelling and balanced examination of the British public
school system and the inequalities it entrenches.
In Poor Queer Studies Matt Brim shifts queer studies away from its familiar sites of elite education toward poor and working-class people, places, and pedagogies. Brim shows how queer studies also takes place beyond the halls of flagship institutions: in night school; after a three-hour commute; in overflowing classrooms at no-name colleges; with no research budget; without access to decent food; with kids in tow; in a state of homelessness. Drawing on the everyday experiences of teaching and learning queer studies at the College of Staten Island, Brim outlines the ways the field has been driven by the material and intellectual resources of those institutions that neglect and rarely serve poor and minority students. By exploring poor and working-class queer ideas and laying bare the structural and disciplinary mechanisms of inequality that suppress them, Brim jumpstarts a queer-class knowledge project committed to anti-elitist and anti-racist education. Poor Queer Studies is essential for all of those who care about the state of higher education and building a more equitable academy.
The rise of populism in the West and the rise of China in the East have stirred a rethinking of how democratic systems work-and how they fail. The impact of globalism and digital capitalism is forcing worldwide attention to the starker divide between the "haves" and the "have-nots," challenging how we think about the social contract. With fierce clarity and conviction, Renovating Democracy tears down our basic structures and challenges us to conceive of an alternative framework for governance. To truly renovate our global systems, the authors argue for empowering participation without populism by integrating social networks and direct democracy into the system with new mediating institutions that complement representative government. They outline steps to reconfigure the social contract to protect workers instead of jobs, shifting from a "redistribution" after wealth to "pre-distribution" with the aim to enhance the skills and assets of those less well-off. Lastly, they argue for harnessing globalization through "positive nationalism" at home while advocating for global cooperation-specifically with a partnership with China-to create a viable rules-based world order. Thought provoking and persuasive, Renovating Democracy serves as a point of departure that deepens and expands the discourse for positive change in governance.
The essential new book from the authors of the international bestseller The Spirit Level 'Why are people, particularly young people, experiencing increasing levels of mental illness and distress? Highly readable and authoritative, The Inner Level shows clearly how social anxieties and the problems they lead to rise steadily in richer, more unequal societies' Clare Short, The Tablet, Books of the Year Why is the incidence of mental illness in the UK twice that in Germany? Why are Americans three times more likely than the Dutch to develop gambling problems? Why is child well-being so much worse in New Zealand than Japan? As this groundbreaking study demonstrates, the answer to all these hinges on inequality. In The Spirit Level Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett put inequality at the centre of public debate by showing conclusively that less-equal societies fare worse than more equal ones across everything from education to life expectancy. The Inner Level now explains how inequality affects us individually, how it alters how we think, feel and behave. It sets out the overwhelming evidence that material inequalities have powerful psychological effects: when the gap between rich and poor increases, so does the tendency to defi ne and value ourselves and others in terms of superiority and inferiority. A deep well of data and analysis is drawn upon to empirically show, for example, that low social status is associated with elevated levels of stress, and how rates of anxiety and depression are intimately related to the inequality which makes that status paramount. Wilkinson and Pickett describe how these responses to hierarchies evolved, and why the impacts of inequality on us are so severe. In doing so, they challenge the conception that humans are innately competitive and self-interested. They undermine, too, the idea that inequality is the product of 'natural' differences in individual ability. This book sheds new light on many of the most urgent problems facing societies today, but it is not just an index of our ills. It demonstrates that societies based on fundamental equalities, sharing and reciprocity generate much higher levels of well-being, and lays out the path towards them.
From the cook, butler, and housekeeper to the footman, lady's maid and nanny, this is a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of some of Britain's grandest houses. An entertaining social history, steering the reader through the minefield of etiquette and hierarchy that kept Britain's great houses running like clockwork. A bygone era is brought vividly to live through letters, journals, interviews, lively descriptions, and stunning photography of the places and possessions left behind. The largely untold stories of innumerable, rather humble, lives spent "in service" are lying just below the surface of many great houses; the physical evidence can be seen in surviving servants' quarters, the material of their everyday life, even their uniforms and possessions. This account provides a fascinating glimpse at who's who behind the scenes, from the cook, butler, and housekeeper to the footmen, lady's maids, governesses and tutors, nannies and nursemaids. Giving a fascinating insight into the heirarchy within the servant's quarters--from the power-wielding cook to the ever-discreet butler--this guide describes how relationships were forged and changed as the gap between upstairs and downstairs was bridged. Describing their typical working day as well as the holidays, entertainments, and pastimes enjoyed on a rare day off, not to mention the whirl of the social season, this previously "uwritten history" recalls vividly the nature of their lives below stairs.
Politics and Community-Based Research: Perspectives from Yeoville Studio, Johannesburg provides a textured analysis of a contested urban space that will resonate with other contested urban spaces around the world and challenges researchers involved in such spaces to work in creative and politicised ways.
This edited collection is built around the experiences of Yeoville Studio, a research initiative based at the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Through themed, illustrated stories of the people and places of Yeoville, the book presents a nuanced portrait of the vibrance and complexity of a post-apartheid, peri-central neighbourhood that has often been characterised as a ‘slum’ in Johannesburg. These narratives are interwoven with theoretical chapters by scholars from a diversity of disciplinary backgrounds, reflecting on the empirical experiences of the Studio and examining academic research processes.
These chapters unpack the engagement of the Studio in Yeoville, including issues of trust, the need to align policy with lived realities and social needs, the political dimensions of the knowledge produced and the ways in which this knowledge was, and could be used.
Since its sudden appearance in September 2011, the Occupy Movement has spread to thousands of towns and cities across the world. For some it’s the economy. For others, it’s something deeper. Through relentless organizing and ongoing civil disobedience, the movement now occupies the global conscience as its influence spreads from street assemblies and protests to op-ed pages and the corridors of power. From the movement’s onset, Noam Chomsky was there, offering his voice, his support, and his detailed analysis of what’s been going down and what might be done.
In Occupy, Chomsky presents his latest thinking on the core issues, questions and demands that are driving ordinary people to protest. How did we get to this point? How do the wealthiest 1% influence society? How can we separate money from politics? What would a genuine democracy look like? How can we create new institutions to increase freedom and equality for all?
Following the old course, says Chomsky, isn’t going to work. He argues that if we continue to follow the model of growth set for us by the 1%, we'll be like lemmings walking off a cliff. The only alternative is to get involved and fight for a better future. If not now, when? If not us, who?
Read this book if you want to do something to protect freedom, democracy, and the economy from further corporate influence and control.
An estimated 40 percent of global assets are controlled by 1,645 men and women - the billionaires. Darrell M. West reveals what the other 99.9998% of us need to know. With rich anecdotes and personal narratives, West goes inside the world of the ultra wealthy. Meet billionaires such as Sheldon Adelson, Michael Bloomberg, David and Charles Koch, George Soros, Tom Steyer, and Donald Trump - as well as international billionaires from around the globe. The growing political engagement of this small supra-wealthy group raises important questions about influence, transparency, and government performance, and West lays bare the wealthification of politics, including: how billionaires can block appointments and legislation they don't like why the supra-wealthy moved into policy advocacy and referenda at the state level why billionaires run for office in more than a dozen countries around the world
Louis A. Perez Jr.'s new history of nineteenth-century Cuba chronicles in fascinating detail the emergence of an urban middle class that was imbued with new knowledge and moral systems. Fostering innovative skills and technologies, these Cubans became deeply implicated in an expanding market culture during the boom in sugar production and prior to independence. Contributing to the cultural history of capitalism in Latin America, Perez argues that such creoles were cosmopolitans with powerful transnational affinities and an abiding identification with modernity. This period of Cuban history is usually viewed through a political lens, but Perez, here emphasizing the character of everyday life within the increasingly fraught colonial system, shows how moral, social, and cultural change that resulted from market forces also contributed to conditions leading to the collapse of the Spanish colonial administration. Perez highlights women's centrality in this process, showing how criollas adapted to new modes of self-representation as a means of self-fulfillment. Increasing opportunities for middle-class women's public presence and social participation was both cause and consequence of expanding consumerism and of women's challenges to prevailing gender hierarchies. Seemingly simple actions--riding a bicycle, for example, or deploying the abanico, the fan, in different ways--exposed how traditional systems of power and privilege clashed with norms of modernity and progress.
Smashing It celebrates the exceptional works and words of 31 leading working-class artists in Britain. Featuring writing, lyrics and images by Wiley, Maxine Peake, Malorie Blackman, Riz Ahmed and many more, it also includes reflections from artists on how class has impacted their working lives. Come behind the scenes to find out how they overcame obstacles - from the financial to the philosophical - to forge careers in the arts and get inspiration to launch your own project. Smashing It empowers those who will be a part of tomorrow's bigger picture. Contributors: Riz Ahmed, Sabeena Akhtar, Travis Alabanza, Anthony Anaxagorou, Raymond Antrobus, Malorie Blackman, Michaela Coel, Emma Dennis-Edwards, Maureen Duffy, Jenni Fagan, Marvell Fayose, Salena Godden, Hassan Hajjaj, Omar Hamdi, Kerry Hudson, Rabiah Hussain, Fran Lock, David Loumgair, Lisa Luxx, Paul McVeigh, Bridget Minamore, Courttia Newland, Aakash Odedra, Maxine Peake, Rebecca Strickson, Chimene Suleyman, Joelle Taylor, Monsay Whitney, Wiley, Madani Younis
How the leisure class has been replaced by a new elite, and how their consumer habits affect us all In today's world, the leisure class has been replaced by a new elite. Highly educated and defined by cultural capital rather than income bracket, these individuals earnestly buy organic, carry NPR tote bags, and breast-feed their babies. They care about discreet, inconspicuous consumption--like eating free-range chicken and heirloom tomatoes, wearing organic cotton shirts and TOMS shoes, and listening to the Serial podcast. They use their purchasing power to hire nannies and housekeepers, to cultivate their children's growth, and to practice yoga and Pilates. In The Sum of Small Things, Elizabeth Currid-Halkett dubs this segment of society "the aspirational class" and discusses how, through deft decisions about education, health, parenting, and retirement, the aspirational class reproduces wealth and upward mobility, deepening the ever-wider class divide. Exploring the rise of the aspirational class, Currid-Halkett considers how much has changed since the 1899 publication of Thorstein Veblen's Theory of the Leisure Class. In that inflammatory classic, which coined the phrase "conspicuous consumption," Veblen described upper-class frivolities: men who used walking sticks for show, and women who bought silver flatware despite the effectiveness of cheaper aluminum utensils. Now, Currid-Halkett argues, the power of material goods as symbols of social position has diminished due to their accessibility. As a result, the aspirational class has altered its consumer habits away from overt materialism to more subtle expenditures that reveal status and knowledge. And these transformations influence how we all make choices. With a rich narrative and extensive interviews and research, The Sum of Small Things illustrates how cultural capital leads to lifestyle shifts and what this forecasts, not just for the aspirational class but for everyone.
At a time when significant social status, economic resources, and political opportunities seem to become ever more unequally distributed and only available to a few, this book represents the first systematic effort in recent years to develop a sociological model of elites and non-elites. In outlining a new typology of economic, political, and cultural elites, as well as drawing attention to the important role of non-elites, this accessibly written book provides novel insights into the structure of historical and contemporary societies. Milner identifies the sources and structures of economic, political, and cultural power, and investigates patterns of cooperation and conflict between and within elite groups. Analyzing politicians and propagandists, landowners and capitalists, national heroes and celebrities, ordinary folks and outcasts, the book applies its model to three distinctly different societies ancient India, Classical Athens, and the contemporary United States highlighting important structural commonalities across these otherwise very dissimilar societies. A significant contribution to scholarship, Elites will also be useful for an array of courses in sociology, political science, and history.
This book intervenes in the immigration debate, showing how moving away from a racialized local/ migrant dichotomy can help to unite people on the basis of their common humanity. Drawing on over one hundred stories and eight years of research in a provincial English city, Rogaly asks what that city (and indeed England as a whole) stands for in the Brexit era. Stories from the city's homes and streets, and from its warehouse and food factory workplaces, challenge middle-class condescension towards working-class cultures. They also reveal a non-elite cosmopolitanism, which contrasts with the more familiar association of cosmopolitanism with elites. The book combines critique with resources for hope. It is aimed at general readers as well as students and lecturers in geography, sociology, migration studies and oral history. -- .
A surprising and revealing look at how today's elite view their own wealth and place in society From TV's "real housewives" to The Wolf of Wall Street, our popular culture portrays the wealthy as materialistic and entitled. But what do we really know about those who live on "easy street"? In this penetrating book, Rachel Sherman draws on rare in-depth interviews that she conducted with fifty affluent New Yorkers--including hedge fund financiers and corporate lawyers, professors and artists, and stay-at-home mothers--to examine their lifestyle choices and their understanding of privilege. Sherman upends images of wealthy people as invested only in accruing and displaying social advantages for themselves and their children. Instead, these liberal elites, who believe in diversity and meritocracy, feel conflicted about their position in a highly unequal society. They wish to be "normal," describing their consumption as reasonable and basic and comparing themselves to those who have more than they do rather than those with less. These New Yorkers also want to see themselves as hard workers who give back and raise children with good values, and they avoid talking about money. Although their experiences differ depending on a range of factors, including whether their wealth was earned or inherited, these elites generally depict themselves as productive and prudent, and therefore morally worthy, while the undeserving rich are lazy, ostentatious, and snobbish. Sherman argues that this ethical distinction between "good" and "bad" wealthy people characterizes American culture more broadly, and that it perpetuates rather than challenges economic inequality. As the distance between rich and poor widens, Uneasy Street not only explores the real lives of those at the top but also sheds light on how extreme inequality comes to seem ordinary and acceptable to the rest of us.
Americans are taught to believe that upward mobility is possible for anyone who is willing to work hard, regardless of their social status, yet it is often those from affluent backgrounds who land the best jobs. Pedigree takes readers behind the closed doors of top-tier investment banks, consulting firms, and law firms to reveal the truth about who really gets hired for the nation's highest-paying entry-level jobs, who doesn't, and why. Drawing on scores of in-depth interviews as well as firsthand observation of hiring practices at some of America's most prestigious firms, Lauren Rivera shows how, at every step of the hiring process, the ways that employers define and evaluate merit are strongly skewed to favor job applicants from economically privileged backgrounds. She reveals how decision makers draw from ideas about talent--what it is, what best signals it, and who does (and does not) have it--that are deeply rooted in social class. Displaying the "right stuff" that elite employers are looking for entails considerable amounts of economic, social, and cultural resources on the part of the applicants and their parents. Challenging our most cherished beliefs about college as a great equalizer and the job market as a level playing field, Pedigree exposes the class biases built into American notions about the best and the brightest, and shows how social status plays a significant role in determining who reaches the top of the economic ladder.
'A deeply intelligent and searching book, one that makes you re-consider the narrative of your own life and reframe the story you tell yourself' Hilary Mantel A Guardian reader's Best Book of 2018 "There was a question that had come to trouble me a bit earlier, once I had taken the first steps on this return journey to Reims... Why, when I have had such an intense experience of forms of shame related to class ... why had it never occurred to me to take up this problem in a book?" Returning to Reims is a breathtaking account of one man's return to the town where he grew up after an absence of thirty years. It is a frank, fearlessly personal story of family, memory, identity and time lost. But it is also a sociologist's view of what itmeans to grow up working class and then leave that class; of inequality and shifting political allegiances in an increasingly divided nation. A phenomenon in France and a huge bestseller in Germany, Didier Eribon has written the defining memoir of our times. 'I was overwhelmed by this book. I felt I was reading the story of my life' Edouard Louis, author of The End of Eddy 'A book about self-invention and belonging' Colm Toibin
This is the first complete biography of Ernst Kantorowicz (1895-1963), an influential and controversial German-American intellectual whose colorful and dramatic life intersected with many of the great events and thinkers of his time. A medieval historian whose ideas exerted an influence far beyond his field, he is most famous for two books--a notoriously nationalistic 1927 biography of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and The King's Two Bodies (1957), a classic study of medieval politics. Born into a wealthy Prussian-Jewish family, Kantorowicz fought on the Western Front in World War I, was wounded at Verdun, and earned an Iron Cross; later, he earned an Iron Crescent for service in Anatolia before an affair with a general's mistress led to Kantorowicz being sent home. After the war, he fought against Poles in his native Posen, Spartacists in Berlin, and communists in Munich. An ardent German nationalist during the Weimar period, Kantorowicz became a member of the elitist Stefan George circle, which nurtured a cult of the "Secret Germany." Yet as a professor in Frankfurt after the Nazis came to power, Kantorowicz bravely spoke out against the regime before an overflowing crowd. Narrowly avoiding arrest after Kristallnacht, he fled to England and then the United States, where he joined the faculty at Berkeley, only to be fired in 1950 for refusing to sign an anticommunist "loyalty oath." From there, he "fell up the ladder" to Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study, where he stayed until his death. Drawing on many new sources, including numerous interviews and unpublished letters, Robert E. Lerner tells the story of a major intellectual whose life and times were as fascinating as his work.
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