Monday, September 18, 2023

"A Precarious Life"

New from Oxford University Press: A Precarious Life: Community and Conflict in a Deindustrialized Town by Roxana Willis.

About the book, from the publisher:

A Precarious Life offers an internal view of conflict among one of the most socioeconomically disadvantaged communities in Britain.

The long-term 'ethnography at home' is narrated through the life and death of the author's father, Paul, who worked in the coke ovens of the Corby steelworks until its closure in 1980. After closure, Paul ran a mobile grocery shop on his council estate and surrounding areas, which suffered an assortment of injuries in the post-industrial decades that followed. By engaging closely with the social practices of Paul and members of his relational community, this book provides a rare emic account of the classed and racialized tensions that occur within a precariously situated subsection of society. Through this process, layers of meaning are noticed, articulated, and deployed to make intelligible communal tensions. As the chapters progress, a complex ethical terrain is brought into view, where moral conflicts and dilemmas are rife. From this new perspective, a disjuncture becomes apparent between top-down theories that guide the criminal law, on the one hand, and norms that make better sense of the social world navigated by residents on an over-criminalized estate, on the other.

A Precarious Life calls on legal scholars to understand better and engage with this alternative normative order, which embraces an ethics of honesty, relationality, solidarity, and care-captured by the central notion of mutuality.
--Marshal Zeringue