Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Classic Slum

The Classic Slum. This is a book review of this work by Robert Roberts. It gives a chapter by analysis of this book which deals with English slums in the 19th and early 20th Century.

From the site:

In his classic book, The Classic Slum, Robert Roberts answered the question of how the working class of the early twentieth century saw itself. He identified the caste system that existed amongst the proletarians in a town called Salford and explained what characteristics put a family on the top or bottom part of the stratification system.

Roberts grew up in the Salford, the same slum Friedrich Engels described in his book, Conditions of the Working Class. The Roberts family, as the author described it, was near the top of the caste system as they had “connections.” Unlike Engels, who grew in a bourgeoisie family, Roberts was a born and bred proletarian. Roberts’ background put him in position to make observations of the working class from their point of view.

The differences in the voices of the two authors were notable. Engels’ used a passionate voice to blame the bourgeoisie for the suffering of the working class. He claimed that the proletarians should revolt to reform society in their favor. Roberts’ however, did not use his voice to blame the bourgeoisie. In fact, he indicated on page 28 that the proletarians would not revolt because they had a strong national identity. He wrote, “the class struggle, as manual workers in general knew it, was apolitical and had place entirely within their own society. They looked up it not in any way as a war against the employers.” Further, at one point, Roberts indicated that the proletarians did not take the views of bourgeoisie such as Engels seriously.

2 comments:

DaleB said...

It looks like you've plagiarised Julie Lorenzen's review at: http://www.julielorenzen.net/slum.html

M said...

Let's see, I linked to the site directly and then take an excerpt from it with the words, "From the site." Hardly plagiarized. The text is clearly credited.