£16.99 | $29.95

11 April 2013
ISBN: 9781848138513
264 pages
216mm x 138mm
Sociology and Social Policy

Human Rights, Sociology and Social Policy, Politics, Europe

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Revolting Subjects

Social Abjection and Resistance in Neoliberal Britain

Imogen Tyler

Revolting Subjects is a groundbreaking account of social abjection in contemporary Britain, exploring how particular groups of people are figured as revolting and how they in turn revolt against their abject subjectification. The book utilizes a number of high-profile and in-depth case studies - including 'chavs', asylum seekers, Gypsies and Travellers, and the 2011 London riots - to examine the ways in which individuals negotiate restrictive neoliberal ideologies of selfhood. In doing so, Tyler argues for a deeper psychosocial understanding of the role of representational forms in producing marginality, social exclusion and injustice, whilst also detailing how stigmatization and scapegoating are resisted through a variety of aesthetic and political strategies.

Imaginative and original, Revolting Subjects introduces a range of new insights into neoliberal societies, and will be essential reading for those concerned about widening inequalities, growing social unrest and social justice in the wider global context.


'This brilliant and exciting book is a work of immense significance. Rigorous, lucid, original, packed with insights and burning with passion, Revolting Subjects confirms Imogen Tyler as one of the most important writers in cultural studies and sociology today.' - Rosalind Gill, King's College, London

'Social abjection is notoriously tied to harrowing social disenfranchisement. Tyler's brilliant autopsy of abject processes lays bare a state apparatus in which human disposability and waste are shown to be the enabling conditions for neoliberal governance. Tyler's book reveals how such understanding enables abjected subjects to become the animating force for diverse social movements dedicated to reclaiming the principle of the commons across the globe.' - Sneja Gunew, professor of English and women's and gender studies, University of British Columbia, Canada

'A crash course in the politics of disgust and the logic of riot, occupation and exposure. Passionate, furious and full of hope, Imogen Tyler offers her readers a devastating analysis of governance through stigma, as well as a manifesto for survival, solidarity and revolt. A must read for activists, analysts and those in danger of despair.' - Rachel Thomson, professor of childhood and youth studies, University of Sussex

'In this brilliant book Imogen Tyler explores the new political and psychosocial landscapes of the UK. She charts the emergence of new, precarious, political collectives and the co-option of protest against neoliberal hegemonies. Tyler offers a stunning re-analysis of social abjection. This is just one of this book's crowning achievements. The arguments and analyses will inspire and fascinate all those seeking to understand contemporary social insecurities.'
- Margaret Wetherell, emeritus professor, The Open University, and professor of social psychology, The University of Auckland.

'Imogen Tyler has given us a powerful and deeply moving account of how social abjection is produced, lived, and resisted in contemporary Britain. Foregrounding issues of migrant illegality, social class, citizenship, and protest, Revolting Subjects is a forceful return to the best cultural studies tradition, one devoted to impassioned intellectual energy and oppositional politics.'
- Katarzyna Marciniak, Ohio University, author of Alienhood: Citizenship, Exile, and the Logic of Difference

'A brilliant must-read book. Tyler brings an ambitious and unique urgency of voice to the 'revolting subject' of heightened inequalities in neoliberal times. Perspectives of valueless-ness are forcibly shifted with persistent attentiveness and interdisciplinary observance of affect, abjection and disgust; of protest, publics and politics; of youth, parenting and popular (mis)representation. Hard edges of intersecting social divisions sit with a caring call for 'common grounds', to be revolt-ing. Revolting Subjects truely conveys the essence of active, public sociology...'
- Professor Yvette Taylor, Head of the Weeks Centre for Social and Policy Research, London South Bank University.

'I can only hope that Revolting Subjects will be widely read beyond its disciplinary grounding in sociology/cultural studies, and indeed beyond academia: it offers both analytic fortitude and refreshing political inspiration. It is a nothing short of a beautiful heresy in these revolting times.'
- Tom Slater, in Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography

'(A) meticulously researched and immensely readable book on 'social abjection' shows how, within the neoliberal order, biased media portrayals and policies generate 'a disgust consensus' that contributes to the stigmatisation of groups such as asylum seekers, Gypsies and Travellers. This book will make you angry, yet there is a vivid activist energy that runs through it that brings the academic analysis to spirited life.
- Times Educational Supplement

Table of Contents

Introduction: revolting subjects
1. Social abjection
2. The abject politics of British citizenship
3. The asylum invasion complex
4. Naked protest: maternal politics and the feminist commons
5. The Big Society: eviction and occupation
6. Britain and its poor
7. The kids are revolting

About the Author:

Imogen Tyler is a senior lecturer in sociology and co-director of the Centre for Gender and Women's Studies at Lancaster University. She specializes in the area of marginal social identities, a topic which brings together research on asylum and migration, borders, sexual politics, motherhood, race and ethnicity, disability, social class and poverty. Her work focuses on representation and mediation and the relationship between social theory and activism. Other recent publications include a special issue of Feminist Review (with C. Gatrell) on the theme of 'Birth', a special issue of Studies in the Maternal (with T. Jensen) on the theme of 'Austerity Parenting', a special issue of Citizenship Studies on the theme of `Immigrant Protest` (2013) and a book (with K. Marciniak), Immigrant Protest: Politics, Aesthetics, and Everyday Dissent (SUNY, forthcoming).