Book Review: Lynsey Hanley, Respectable: The Experience of Class
Lynsey Hanley’s Respectable: The Experience of Class is crisply relevant as Britain faces turmoil over Brexit, rise in racist hate crimes and slow economic growth. Tracing her own life account over the last three decades, Hanley astutely shows how Britain is far from being a ‘classless’ society. The book makes a contribution by relating the simultaneous material and emotional implications of social mobility. Hanley uses the figures of ‘ceilings’, ‘walls’ and ‘borders’ to describe the loneliness, anxieties and feelings of betrayal that are an intrinsic part of this class journey. She dismisses the myth that social mobility is always a ‘Good Thing’ (p. x) and argues that there is a discomfiting silence around the psychological impact of transcendence of class boundaries.