Sparrow, Jeff: The greyhound ban and the working man: what exactly does “working class culture” mean?

Sparrow, Jeff

The greyhound ban and the working man: what exactly does “working class culture” mean?Guardian Australia, 21 July 2016

Explores the idea that the proposed ban on greyhound racing in New South Wales will particularly affect something called ‘the working class’. Looks at what working class culture actually is and explores some examples going back as far as Frank Hardy’s muck-raking novel Power Without Glory in 1952, jazz after World War II, radical book societies, and greyhound racing itself.

He notes the sympathy of some commentators, including Miranda Devine, for what they see as the culture of greyhound racing.

All too often, that’s what media valorisations of “working class culture” entail. Even when well intentioned, they’re generally tinged with a paternalistic nostalgia, with workers featuring as cloth-capped relics of a vanishing past. We don’t hear about the trade unionists fighting with Frank Hardy to distribute an important novel. Instead, we’re presented with working class people as an endangered species, requiring the benevolent protection of sympathetic politicians or journalists.

The focus of interest, Sparrow says, should be working class politics.

The piece attracted 336 comments.

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