Contribution to ‘The Riots One Year On, A One Day Conference’ 28th September, London South Bank University
RUNNING FROM THE RIOTS – UP A DOWN-ESCALATOR IN THE MIDDLE OF A CLASS STRUCTURE GONE PEAR-SHAPED
Patrick Ainley and Martin Allen
This paper updates one presented to the British Sociological Association Youth Study Group in autumn last year. Like other commentators, we point out that the majority of youth did not riot and focus instead upon young people in the new working-middle class who are running up a downwards escalator of devalued qualifications to avoid falling into the so-called ‘underclass’ that has been widely blamed for the riots. This only intensifies national hysteria about education as the Coalition’s reception of Browne’s Review restricts HE entry to those who can afford tripled fees, while relegating those who cannot to ‘Apprenticeships Without Jobs’ (cf. Finn 1987) in FE and private providers. With reference to Ainley and Allen (2010), this paper speculates as to the likely outcome of this generational crisis, while reviewing available evidence after the fact as well predictions before it of last summer’s riots – from Owen Jones’ Chavs to Guy Standing’s Precariat and drawing upon our own Lost Generation?