WHAT MAKES A TEXT WORKING-CLASS

*Note: This applies to a story, poem, essay, novel, film, song, photo, painting...
 *These are not criterion but characteristics, and no single work is expected to satisfy
all of these characteristics.


1. Writing is based on lived experience, shows characters as human persons
in a lived space, depicts daily life including work

2. Author creates space for people to represent themselves,
includes speech idioms and dialects, curses and blessings.

3. Communal in nature...
The individual "I" is speaking for the collective "We."

4. Readers can recognize themselves in the writing;
it gives validation to their own stories.

5. Writing gives language to human suffering and grief
Economics forces are recognized...giving validation to
deep feelings often ignore by mainstream art.

6. Writing (art) has agency in the world, is useful.
Many writers link writing with survival.

7. Includes forces of history and impact of human relationships.

8. Writing challenges dominant assumptions about aesthetics...
Breaks rules or conventions for verity.

9. Writing shows consciousnes of class oppression....
denial of rights, exploitative marketplace, etc.

10. Writing takes sides..."Which Side Are You On?"

11. Writing (art) deals with money--finances shown
as a force and struggle in getting by.


Larry Smith, in collaboration with Janet Zandy and
her Hands: Physical Labor, Class, and Cultural Work.

(NJ: Rutgers University Press. 2004)