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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I was so impressed with this book I thought it deserved a wider audience
This is what all anthropology books should be like. I couldn't put it down. Highly entertaining and deeply personal, yet also an astute and brilliant account tackling and analysing some of the most fundamental issues affecting society today. Like a twenty-first century parallel to Jack London's searing East End memoir People of the Abyss, it takes us deep into one of the...
Published on 5 Aug. 2008 by Anon

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3.0 out of 5 stars Nice to read but not strong
As much as I did enjoy the authors ethnography and the informants nuisances and lives, it lacked a conclusion and what the contribution to youth agenda or anthropology was. It is weak anthropologically as there is lack of an arch of social themes. Yes Evans does dip into theory but you only have to read the bibliography to see the lack of people cited. It's not a good...
Published 16 months ago by Fraser


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I was so impressed with this book I thought it deserved a wider audience, 5 Aug. 2008
This review is from: Educational Failure and Working Class White Children in Britain (Paperback)
This is what all anthropology books should be like. I couldn't put it down. Highly entertaining and deeply personal, yet also an astute and brilliant account tackling and analysing some of the most fundamental issues affecting society today. Like a twenty-first century parallel to Jack London's searing East End memoir People of the Abyss, it takes us deep into one of the few remaining working-class enclaves of central London. (though this time the author doesn't go under cover!).

Accessible to a large audience, far transcending the boundaries of academia, this book is essential for anyone interested in working-class London life, children, schooling, youth culture and Bermondsey in general. Don't be put off by the plain title (which perhaps aims at attracting the attention of policy-makers and education professionals) for the book's content has the capacity to revolutionise the plight of Britain's schools and education system. As such, it needs to be noticed. For the general reader, moreover, it has an energy, insight, depth and wit that make it shine.

Through her eloquent prose, engaging narrative and deeply personal approach the reader accompanies Evans on a journey of self-discovery that takes her deeper and deeper into the heart and soul of what it means to be white and working class - an often-overlooked, if not despised, demographic - in Bermondsey today. With her vivid descriptions and engaging, often amusing dialogues written in colloquial tongue (`I can't believe I've got this posh cow (the author) leavin messages on my phone') charting the experiences of herself and her characters, a cross-section of Bermondsey folk, Evans' account is honest and unflinching. The reader not only understands but feels the transformation taking place in Evans as she begins to be accepted and learn what it means to be working class (`common') and `born and bred' in Bermondsey.

Jumping in at the deep end, Evans immerses herself utterly in the life of her protagonists, sometimes to the horror of her husband and children. There is a very amusing and revealing scene at an Ann Summers party and later at a karate competition in which one of Evan's children has been badly winded in a fight against an older boy (`Determined to copy the other Bermondsey mum, however, I harden my face, set my jaw and leap down to get closer to the fighting area. Shouting as loudly and fiercely as I can, not caring now who is watching, I scream at her, `Kill him Fola!'). Such amusing descriptions and real-life dialogues are interwoven with serious and in-depth anthropological and social analysis which fit seamlessly into her constantly engaging narrative prose.

Evans has an astute and discerning eye. Through her own patience, openness, participation and humanity, she manages to transcend and interrogate the class boundaries that structure our society. In doing so, she uncovers the real factors behind educational failure in inner-city areas such as Bermondsey. Through her long-term, close observation and participation in children's social worlds - at home, at school and on the street - Evans highlights the challenges facing working-class white kids in Bermondsey today as they struggle for acceptance and prestige in their locality (through whatever means possible and often in conflict with the requirements of school, because society at large offers them little hope of anything better).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Working class life, warts and all. A brutally honest portrayal and a must for anyone reading about education and class., 23 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Educational Failure and Working Class White Children in Britain (Paperback)
The interview subjects of this book will make you feel angry, shocked, feel pathos, feel guilty that pathos was not the first thing you felt and then feel like you have learned much from their plight. There is also the inconvenient truth that their lifestyles are been played out by the millions up and down the country.

This was a really good read and great for anyone wanting an honest and accessible depiction of what working class life is. What I enjoyed most about this book is the author's personal reflection on what was observed from her stand point. As a researcher I always have a soft spot for any author who can tell a story and during this I really did feel I was living this research with her! She purposefully does not censor the content with a middle class sheen of respectability as most research you may read tends to do. She tells it as it is and as she saw it so be warned!

A Must read for anyone interested in social anthropology.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Nice to read but not strong, 8 Mar. 2014
This review is from: Educational Failure and Working Class White Children in Britain (Paperback)
As much as I did enjoy the authors ethnography and the informants nuisances and lives, it lacked a conclusion and what the contribution to youth agenda or anthropology was. It is weak anthropologically as there is lack of an arch of social themes. Yes Evans does dip into theory but you only have to read the bibliography to see the lack of people cited. It's not a good academic book but a good real story the lives of the working classes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars what a wonderful book, 17 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Educational Failure and Working Class White Children in Britain (Paperback)
This book is an easy read yet so informative. it cuts through the difficult areas easily. This will always be a book i will use throughout the university course i am on. Will highly recommend to others
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating piece of ethnographic research which will make a useful contribution to the literature about social class and educat, 29 April 2015
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Fascinating piece of ethnographic research which will make a useful contribution to the literature about social class and education in Britain.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant recent research, 25 April 2011
This review is from: Educational Failure and Working Class White Children in Britain (Paperback)
GILLIAN EVANS' Educational Failure and Working Class White Children in Britain is brilliant recent Sociological research and yet it isn't recognised as a text you can refer to in Sociology AS or A level. I can't think why. It covers Class, Gender, Education and Family in an interesting way by someone who is a qualified Anthropologist and decided to study the people she lived among. She uses structured and unstructured interviews and in-depth observation and she writes really clearly.
I recommend it wholeheartedly not only for students but also for politicians and for those wondering why so many of our children do not do better.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Research But Flawed, 31 Mar. 2011
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RL Cloherty (Birmingham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Educational Failure and Working Class White Children in Britain (Paperback)
Overall an excellent book. The observations and conclusions are logical and make sense. But, it still assumes the failure is due to working class students inadequacy and the inadequacy of the state education system rather than the lack of impartiality by external examiners. One serious flaw is that failure is somehow an act of rebellion against the system when educational success will be more important to working class students than their more privileged and usually more successlful competitors.
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Educational Failure and Working Class White Children in Britain
Educational Failure and Working Class White Children in Britain by Gillian Evans (Paperback - 15 July 2008)
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