This is a blog about everyday inequalities in the UK written by a team of linguists and anthropologists based in London. We want to put a spotlight on the often unobserved, mundane, everyday ordinariness of people’s unequal experience of comfort, wealth and power. Firstly, we want to look at the ways in which people’s lives are disrupted by inequality and their attempts to cope with their situations of marginality. But equally we want to highlight the ways in which people attempt to resist or disrupt the social positions they are forced into. Of course, these attempts to cope and resist are not always successful. Therefore we want this blog to be a space where we can talk about these attempts, and indeed contribute to the disruption of inequalities, through telling stories about the everyday difficulties of individuals that we encounter as researchers and as citizens of the societies we inhabit.
Social scientists are used to talking about the big, spectacular inequalities and injustices of our times. Our posts however are dedicated to the hidden, silent, and often invisible side of inequality; what we might call banal inequality. Our stories are about money as well as about language, race, gender and sexuality and the everyday exclusion, failed expectations, and marginalisation related to this. It is precisely through these stories that we hope to assess where resistance to inequality succeeds and where attempts at change merely reproduce the social situations in which people find themselves. In doing so, we ourselves hope to disrupt current discourses on inequality and social change.
As researchers we tend to use a language that is seldom understood by people outside of the academic context. In this blog, we force ourselves to write in a way that enables us to engage in conversation with the people we write about and with whoever is interested in reading our posts. Our texts will be ethnographic – this means that they will closely document the struggles, anxieties and hopes experienced by ordinary people. Of course, these descriptions will be our own interpretations of what we have observed. They will be our own attempts to paint a picture of contemporary society that the mainstream media don’t want, or cannot afford, to represent.