Wednesday, February 18, 2009
General Characteristics of Working-Class Writing and Art:
1) The writing is based on lived experience and shows characters as human persons
in a lived space, depicting their daily life including their actual physical work.
2) The writing creates space for people to speak and represent themselves, includes speech idioms and dialects, curses and blessings.
3) The writing is communal in nature. The individual "I" is speaking for the collective "We."
4) Readers can recognize themselves in the writing; it gives validation to their own stories and culture.
5) The writing gives language to human suffering and grief. Economics forces are recognized thus giving validation to deep feelings often ignore by mainstream art.
6) The writing (art) has agency in the world, is useful.
7) The writing includes forces of history and their impact on human relationship.
8) The writing challenges dominant assumptions about aesthetics... It breaks rules or conventions of form in favor of verity of experience.
9) The writing builds consciousness of class oppression....denial of rights, exploitative marketplace, etc. and may lead to rebellion.
10) The writing takes sides..."Whose Side Are You On?" it asks and then declares.
[Source: Developed in collaboration with Janet Zandy and her Hands: Physical Labor, Class, and Cultural Work (Rutgers University Press)]