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Finding a suitable home can be difficult in a constrained housing market such as small rural village. Within Ambridge, only a small proportion of the homes in the village…
Finding a suitable home can be difficult in a constrained housing market such as small rural village. Within Ambridge, only a small proportion of the homes in the village is known about, and it is rare for additional homes to be added to those where named characters live. This chapter takes a generational view of housing pathways and options, showing how Generation X, Millennial and Generation Z populations in Ambridge are housed. The chapter examines the extent to which characters rely on friends or family for solving their housing problems and considers the role of family wealth and wider dependence in determining housing pathways. The research shows that dependence on others' access to property is by far the most pronounced feature of housing options for these households. These pathways and housing choices are compared to the wider context in rural England, to consider the extent to which luck, in the form of the mythical ‘Ambridge Fairy’, plays a role in helping people to find housing. The ways in which the Ambridge Fairy manifests are also considered – showing that financial windfalls, unexpectedly available properties and convenient patrons are more likely to be available to people with social capital and established (and wealthy) family networks. The specific housing pathway of Emma Grundy is reviewed to reflect on the way in which her housing journey is typical of the rural working-class experience of her generation, within the wider housing policy context.
This paper presents a case study concerning the recovery of a young woman's wellbeing after a personal crisis in the summer of 2019. The analytical approach used draws on…
This paper presents a case study concerning the recovery of a young woman's wellbeing after a personal crisis in the summer of 2019. The analytical approach used draws on a conceptual model where wellbeing is a balance point between an individual's resources and the challenges they face. Therefore, stable wellbeing is when individuals have the physical, psychological and social resources they need to meet the physical, psychological and or social challenges they face. When individuals have more challenges than resources, the balance dips, along with their wellbeing, and vice versa. After outlining the theoretical base of the model, this paper presents a highly subjective analysis of the challenges faced by and resources available to the young woman in the case study. The daughter of a pig man and a Horrobin, she had worked three jobs in order to purchase a house for her young family. Her plans were precipitously destroyed leading to a breakdown in her marriage. This paper considers her path to recuperation in the aftermath of the crisis with a reference to her notion that ‘security is everything.’
This chapter explores the fascinating relationship between the way we speak (our accents) and who we are (our identities) by investigating the ways in which accent is used…
This chapter explores the fascinating relationship between the way we speak (our accents) and who we are (our identities) by investigating the ways in which accent is used in The Archers in the process of characterisation. It begins by describing the link between accent and identity in everyday life, arguing for a perspective in which the way we speak is seen as contributing to the active performance of our identities rather than something through which our identities are passively reflected. The main part of the chapter describes two small studies into the ways in which The Archers both uses and reinforces existing language-based stereotypes in order to help in its presentation of clear and recognisable characters.
In 1976, in a speech at Ruskin College, Oxford, Prime Minister James Callaghan asked ‘Why is it that such a high proportion of girls abandon science before leaving school?’ (Gillard, 2018). Little has changed over the last 40 years; a recent report from the National Audit Office (2018, p. 28) stated that only 8% of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) apprenticeships were taken up by women in 2016/2017 and that the shortage of STEM skills in the workforce is a key UK economic problem. However, just as the Aldridge marriage has been the source of considerable interest and the site of significant financial investment in terms of designer kitchens and expensive holidays, so has the issue of ‘girls in science’ been a consistently debated topic and taken up a large chunk of government and industry spending. Research (Archer et al., 2013) suggests that although children enjoy their science experiences in school, too few pupils aspire to a STEM career. It reveals that the pupils most likely to aspire to careers in science are those whose families have high ‘science capital’ which ‘refers to the science-related qualifications, understanding, knowledge (about science and “how it works”), interest and social contacts (e.g. “knowing someone who works in a science-related job”)’ (Archer et al., 2016, p. 3).
Episodes of The Archers are full of scientific talk, from herbal leys to plate meters. This chapter looks at how the science capital in Ambridge is shared. Why is Alice Carter an engineer and not Emma Grundy? Will Kiera Grundy choose physics A level? Who are the female STEM role models? How can the concept of science capital help us to understand the career paths of Ambridge residents? Will the young girls of Ambridge remedy the gender imbalance in STEM careers?
Ambridge residents live with extended kin and non-family members much more often than the population of the United Kingdom as a whole. This chapter explores cultural…
Ambridge residents live with extended kin and non-family members much more often than the population of the United Kingdom as a whole. This chapter explores cultural norms, economic need, and family and health care to explain patterns of coresidence in the village of Ambridge. In landed families, filial obligation and inheritance norms bind multigenerational families to a common dwelling, while scarcity of affordable rural housing inhibits residential independence and forces reliance on access to social networks and chance to find a home among the landless. Across the socioeconomic spectrum, coresidence wards off loneliness among unpartnered adults. Finally, for Archers listeners, extended kin and non-kin coresidence creates a private space where dialogue gives added dimensionality and depth to characters who would otherwise be known only through their interactions in public spaces.
Families conduct their affairs through processes that are built upon those of previous generations and also social capacities such as culture, class, oppression and…
Families conduct their affairs through processes that are built upon those of previous generations and also social capacities such as culture, class, oppression and poverty. The media has played a part in stereotyping the lower classes through their portrayal on the television programmes such as Benefits Street and Jeremy Kyle and tabloid newspaper stories. This chapter is a case study of two families who are at the opposing ends of the social scale, the Horrobin/Carter and Aldridge families. The two families were chosen due to them being linked by marriage in the younger generation. Through the use of genograms, we explore how the families differ in their attitudes towards relationships within their individual families, and also how they relate to each other as separate family groups. Despite the many differences, there are also a number of key similarities, particularly regarding the key females in the families, in terms of family background and snobbery. We also show that there is little family loyalty in the more privileged family and a power differential between the two families (oppressors vs. oppressed) in terms of the crimes committed.
Who will lead Ambridge in the years to come? Theories rooted in psychology and political science, when applied to family dynamics in The Archers, allow for some educated…
Who will lead Ambridge in the years to come? Theories rooted in psychology and political science, when applied to family dynamics in The Archers, allow for some educated guesses. Social learning theory suggests that children who see their parents vote, run for office and participate in other civic activities are more likely to do the same in adulthood. Emma Grundy did just that when she followed in the footsteps of her father, Neil Carter, in winning a seat on the parish council. Previous research has found that birth order also can shape future leaders, with the eldest child more likely to benefit developmentally from parents' undivided attention in the early years, and also more likely to establish a hierarchy of power over younger siblings. With these factors in mind, who are the most probable contenders to lead Ambridge in the spheres of politics, business and civic affairs? The extant research points to Pip Archer, Lily Pargetter, Phoebe Aldridge and George Grundy. The unique circumstances of Ruairi Donovan's childhood suggest he may also be a formidable candidate. And, as is the case in so many contexts, one would be wise not to overlook Molly Button.
The parenting styles, or perhaps lack thereof, of Ambridge families is a much-talked about topic among The Archers listeners. This has been brought into keen focus…
The parenting styles, or perhaps lack thereof, of Ambridge families is a much-talked about topic among The Archers listeners. This has been brought into keen focus recently with the parental role in, and reaction to, Ed and Emma Grundy's separation, and the intra- and inter-family dynamics of the Archers clans brought about by Peggy Woolley's Ambridge Conservation Trust. This chapter presents an Archers Assembly, based on the Citizens’ Assembly model, to pass judgement on the parenting styles of the matriarchs and family heads of key Ambridge clans. The Archers Assembly crowdsourced (through the Academic Archers Facebook group) considerations on: The Matriarchs, Peggy and Gill Archer; David and Ruth Archer; Pat and Tony Archer; Susan and Neil Carter; Jenny and Brian Aldridge; and Clarrie and Eddy Grundy. The chapter offers the evidence on each set, with a list of ‘for’ and ‘against’ cases, and quotes, from respondents.
The Grundys are the alternative world of Ambridge. Invariably down on their luck, often portrayed as lazy if not feckless and usually incompetent. This chapter speaks up for the downtrodden of Borsetshire and in particular the Grundys. It looks at the development of the Grundy family in The Archers over almost 50 years now. It relates key elements in their lives, looking not just at the class struggle in the village but also the importance of gender in this. It draws on key players in the Grundy story from the 1970s including the late radio DJ John Peel who was for a time an enthusiast for The Archers and who played Eddie Grundy's records on his BBC Radio One show. It also looks at the views of key Archers figures such as Vanessa Whitburn and Keri Davies and how they have approached the Grundys. It uses the work of Marx and Engels to try to explain how it is that the Grundys moved from being small farmers to landless labourers. What the chapter doesn't do is to map out a strategy for the liberation of the Grundys from their oppression. It does however look forward to a world turned upside down when at 19.02 hours on a weekday evening on BBC Radio 4 we hear a programme called not The Archers, but The Grundys.