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14 Pages

Introduction

Home and ideas of home are central to understandings of self, place and society. This book is about home in British working-class fiction and the various ways in which ideas about home influence perceptions of class. The book engages with, and to some extent comes out of, that long cultural and philanthropic tradition of travelling towards, looking into and writing about the British working classes in their living spaces. This is a tradition which continues today in journalism, travel-ethnography and television programmes. Yet even where the outlines of this gaze may be sympathetic, its contours often reveal, as Valerie Walkerdine has commented, ‘the fascination of gazing at the working class’, questioning ‘what was it like to be like that’?2