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Flapjacks and Feudalism: Social Mobility and Class in The Archers

Product Details
16 Mar 2021
Emerald Publishing Limited
376 pages - 129 x 198mm
Flapjacks and Feudalism: Social Mobility and Class in The Archers is an excavation into the family and class politics found in the clans of the residents of Ambridge, in BBC Radio 4's The Archers.

A whole section of the book is devoted to 'The Fall of the House of Aldridge', with Brian's ethical misdemeanours and fall from grace, looking at how Brian could have hidden his scandals and changed the impressions surrounding him as a 'feckless farmer'. Another section sees the parenting skills, or complete lack of them, of the Ambridge clans put on trial, and used to predict the future leaders of Ambridge. Chapters in the book discuss the power of family and community networks, the oppression of the Grundys by the lords of the manor, and Emma Grundy's housing woes and the importance of housing in the success and security of those in the village.

This book explores how far housing, intergenerational wealth, skills and access to employment shape life chances of characters and shows that, perhaps more than anywhere else, its not what you know but who you know.
Preface: The Haves and Have Nots: Wealth and Value in Ambridge; Cara Courage and Nicola Headlam 
Section 1 – It’s who you know, and what you know about them  
Chapter 1. The Grundys and their Oppressors; Keith Flett 
Chapter 2. Two-in/one-out: network power, kin-keeping and ‘airtight’ distinction; Nicola Headlam  
Section 2 – The Fall of The House of Aldridge, the Rise of the Oppressed Grundys? 
Chapter 3. ‘If you have security, Ed, that is everything’: Deconstructing ‘security’ as a buffer against life’s challenges; Lalage Cambell 
Chapter 4. ‘Feeding the Horses’: Modern Slavery, the dark side of construction hidden in plain sight in Ambridge; Nicola Headlam 
Chapter 5. Borsetshire Businessman or Feckless Farmer?; Christine Narramore 
Chapter 6. What to do when you’re no longer Borsetshire’s Businessperson of the Year or How to handle a scandal; Olivia Vandyk 
Section 3 - Family function and dysfunction 
Chapter 7. Contemporary social problems in a rural setting: using The Archers in Social Work Education; Helen Burrows 
Chapter 8. Academic Archers Assembly: Putting the parents on trial; Cara Courage 
Chapter 9. Accent and Identity in Ambridge: The link between spoken language and identity; Rob Drummond
Chapter 10. ‘We Should have called him Damien’: A discussion of the impact of Henry Archer’s early years on potential crimes of the future; Nicola Maxfield  
Chapter 11. Fear, fecklessness and flapjacks: Imagining Ambridge’s offenders; Charlotte Bilby 
Section 4 – Housing and the Ambridge Fairy 
Chapter 12. Rich Relatives or Ambridge Fairy?: Patronage and expectation in Ambridge housing pathways; Claire Astbury  
Chapter 13. Staying in the Spare Room: Social Connectedness and Household Co-residence in The Archers; Paula Fomby 
Chapter 14. Can’t Afford The Laurels?: Care Provision in Ambridge in 2041; Ruth Heilbronn and Rosalind Janssen 
Section 5 - It takes a village…  
Chapter 15. Parents, siblings, and the pursuit of power: Predicting the future leaders of Ambridge; Timothy Vercellotti  
Chapter 16. ‘From the moment those two joined the committee it’s been grunge bands, sumo wrestlers and souffle competitions’: What Ambridge’s civil society says about UK politics in 2019;  Amy Saunders 
Chapter 17. A divided village: A narrative study using a theoretical lens of speculative ontology; Maggie Bartlett
Dr Cara Courage is a placemaking, and arts, activism and museums Academic and Practitioner, and Head of Tate Exchange, Tate's platform dedicated to socially engaged art.

Dr Nicola Headlam is a freelance Policy Adviser with expertise in the role of place within economic development and in how, why and where social and spatial inequalities persist.
The authors combine a refreshing academic rigour with an obvious (though not uncritical) love for the programme. The intriguing result puts Archers stories and characters into their real-world context – with a lot more laughs along the way than one might expect. - Keri Davies,Long-serving The Archers scriptwriter

Another intelligent and insightful exploration of The Archers from the Academic Archers team. This cornucopia of thought-provoking standpoints offers readers the chance to reconsider what lies beneath the social system that permeates this everyday story of country folk. - Charlotte Martin, aka 'Susan Carter', The Archers

Being an Archers listener is a way of life, and this fascinating book plonks Ambridge exactly where it should be; right at the heart of the real world. Well-researched and beautifully written, it's the academic backbone of a much-loved series. - Lucy Freeman, Writer and Broadcaster

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