Charver Kids and Pram-face Girls: Working-Class Youth, Representation and Embodied Performance

  • Mary Jane Kehily
  • Anoop Nayak
Part of the Studies in Childhood and Youth book series (SCY)


The invocation of the ‘chav’ in these examples from the Urban Dictionary conjures up well-worn responses to a substratum of working-class youth, laden with disgust and condemnation. As shorthand for the unrespectable poor, Little Britain’s pram-pushing character Vicky Pollard serves as a recognizable representation of the modern-day ‘chav’. With her scrunched-back hair, day-glo tracksuit, hooped ear rings and predilection for smoking, drinking and swearing, Vicky Pollard’s chav identity is written on the body. Transnational depictions of ‘trailer park trash’ in the United States, ‘bogans’ in Australia, ‘neds’ in Scotland, ‘pikies’, ‘scallies’, ‘hoodies’ and ‘chavs’ in England are all ways in which those who are young, poor and white are brought into being in the contemporary global era. While a number of authors have critically discussed these representations, producing rich insight into the reworking of social class delineations in late-modernity (e.g., Adams and Raisborough, 2011; Hayward and Yar, 2006; Jones, 2011; Lawler, 2005; Tyler, 2008), surprisingly few have sought to engage with the voices of dispossessed youth themselves. Little is known about how young people speak back to these representations, transfigure or dissent from them.


Young People Teenage Mother Youth Culture Bleached Hair Casual Leisure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Mary Jane Kehily and Anoop Nayak 2014

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  • Mary Jane Kehily
  • Anoop Nayak

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