chapter  13
Class and the invention of tradition
The cases of Christmas, football, and folksong
ByJohn Storey
Pages 16

For most of human history, people have been divided into social classes, but it is only in the nineteenth century that we see for the first time the distinction between middle class and working class. This chapter explores the entanglement of class and popular culture as it was articulated in relations between these two classes. It discusses three examples: the invention of the traditional' English Christmas, the development of association football and the Folk Revival. If we think of the industrial revolution as a middle-class revolution, this first part of the invention of the traditional' Christmas is straightforwardly a celebration of what had been achieved. In The Communist Manifesto version, the boy and girl are reconfigured, not as Ignorance and Want, but as the capitalist class's grave-diggers': As already observed, central to the new urban middle-class invention of Christmas is the claim that they are merely continuing a tradition'.