The Hardtowners : an ethnographic study focused on a group of long-term unemployed one-parent families living within a Dundee council estate
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This is an ethnographic description and investigation of life on a Scottish council estate. It is based on five unemployed one-parent life histories focusing on their experiences, knowledge and emotions in and around a local community centre. The study's expressed focal point is the Gentleman Robber community centre, within the hardtown community in the city of Dundee. The study touches on locally important representations and key issues such as: work, morality, boredom, kinship, spatiality and violence. At the tables in the community centre, the local narrative montage often focused on the enjoyment of violence or the negative marginal stigmatism faced, while, for example, collecting one's social benefits or attending the local doctor. It reflected a dichotomy of Us/Them relations linked to a local fragmentation of identity and issues of deservingness. I found that in a daily emphasis of their own exclusion the Hardtowners often voiced a feeling and embodiment of opposition through local story telling. It is a fragmented and stressful everyday life, with individual skill and network connections deciding individual status in the community. Links and networks last for as long as they are deemed useful and flexibility in trading, cooperation, networking and violence is one of the local guiding lights for success. The ethnographic narrative is described though a fragmented, contextually faithful discourse, with cinematic influences. This imparts a slice of daily experientialism found in the fragmented and stressful lives of the individuals born into and living on benefit in a Western European welfare society.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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