Formation of Class and Gender: Skeggs


  • longitudinal(12years, 3 years being participant observation)
  • 83 white women from the north west of england
  • Focused on how women create a sense of self and the part that social class and the search for respectability plays in female working class identity
  • Biographies of the women, their partners, friends and teachers.
  • She lived in the community of the women studied
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  • They were young, unqualified and concerned with pleasure and going out at the onset of the study but were under pressure to marry and settle as the study progressed
  • They were enrolled on Caring courses at local colleges
  • Many women rejected a specially working cloass identity and aspired to respectability.
  • Working class people are seen as dangerous and threatening and so respectability becones desirable for them because they wish to see themselves as being as good and as valued as those who do have it.
  • The caring courses had low status and were femised
  • They gained pleasure and status from the process of looking good, of mediating between appearing attractive and tarty or looking feminine and looking ****.
  • Desirability is an important part of the meaning of being female, but to be respectable means to subdue sexuality
  • undesirable women are made to feel unvalued in a society that put much emphasis on heterosexual relationships
  • The desire to reject working class status led women to a continuos programme of self improvement that focused on their bodies
  • Homes were a site for creating identities and they aspired to what they thought was 'middle class'.
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