Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies

Class and Culture Now 2008

Our one day inaugural symposium in February 2008 celebrating the launch of the centre, had presentations by Professor Carolyn Steedman ( Warwick ), Dr Anita Biressi and Professor Heather Nunn (both Roehampton) and the journalist Lynsey Hanley from The Guardian.

The first paper at the conference by Biressi and Nunn highlighted key questions of gender and class with relation to health, notions of self policing and imperatives for social mobility as they pan out in recent examples of lifestyle television. Clips from reality shows shaming parents by synthesising their children's future embodiment were particularly memorable.

Dr Anita Biressi & Prof Heather Nunn of Roehampton UniversityDr Anita Biressi & Prof Heather Nunn of Roehampton University

That was followed by an inspiring talk by Steedman entitled 'The Histories We Have. On The Law, Poetry, and a Pair of Stays', drawing on fascinating historical and biographical material relating to the lives of people working in domestic service.

Prof Carolyn Steedman ( Warwick) and Prof Jenny Taylor ( Sussex)Prof Carolyn Steedman ( Warwick) and Prof Jenny Taylor ( Sussex)

The third paper of the afternoon was given by the journalist Lynsey Hanley talking about the social politics of  council estates drawing on research for her recently published book 'Estates: An Intimate History'. Moving from the postwar ideal of spacious houses and gardens built to house workers' families, through to the budget tower block housing complexes of the 1960s and 1970s, Hanley outlined the spatial politics of social exclusion.

Lynsey Hanley from The Guardian talks to Dr Margaretta Jolly ( Sussex)Lynsey Hanley from The Guardian talks to Dr Margaretta Jolly ( Sussex)

The well attended day was concluded by publisher Ashgate's wine reception to launch Prof Sally R. Munt's new book on class, sexuality, and shame: Queer Attachments: The Cultural Politics of Shame.