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Definition of a Chav

Thursday, November 11, 2010
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Thanks to BBC Radio Stoke for this item.  Amusingly, some of the panel seemed or claimed, to be unaware of the term. As some of the panel point out, use of term is a form of labelling.

As far as I am aware the term ‘chav’ is heavily negative. I may be wrong - perhaps there are people out there who use it as a positive term? The use of language to label and as a form of social control - informal negative sanctioning, is nothing new - just check out use of the terms ‘yob’ and ‘hooligan’ in the !9th century.  Chav is particularly interesting though, as it seems to have come to life in a period when many of us (often, but not always, those who don’t study sociology - some sociologists have gone off the concept) think that class no longer exists and we are all the same, apart from a few lifestyle choices here and there.  So the term fits very usefully into topics such as class and stratification and culture and identity.  I think sociologist Bev Skeggs has written a little on it, or touched on it - something I will have to check up.

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