Why Everyday Life Matters: Class, Community and Making Life Livable

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This article argues that studying everyday life is valuable because it makes sociologists attend to the routine and temporal aspects of social life. The ‘everyday’ brings the seasons of society into view. It also brings to the fore how liveable lives are made in the midst of the social damage produced by widening class divisions. Drawing lessons from Erving Goffman’s sociology, the article argues that attending to everyday life necessitates developing an eye for detail and attentiveness to the seemingly unimportant. It is also argued that central to the study of everyday life is the relationship between history, culture, class and biography. These arguments are illustrated through a discussion of a working-class estate in Croydon, south London where residents light up their home at Christmas in ‘chromatic surplus’.

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