Lisa Mckenzie

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Lisa Louise Mckenzie (born March 1968) is a British sociologist and research fellow at the London School of Economics whose work relates to class inequality, social justice, and British working class culture. She is politically active in the Class War party and her research and politics have been influenced by her experience of being a white working class mother of a mixed race child in a poor area of Nottingham where she grew up.

Early life and education[edit]

Mckenzie was born in March 1968 and grew up in Sutton-in-Ashfield[1]. Generations of male members of her white working class family were miners[1]. She left school at 16, and, like her mother, worked in a Pretty Polly hosiery factory. In 1988 she moved from the, predominantly white, coalfield town of her childhood to St Ann's, an inner-city suburb of Nottingham, a move initially motivated by a lack of hope and jobs.[1] Her mixed-race son was born when she was 19, which also contributed to her staying in the area where more black people were and she felt more comfortable.[2]

Mckenzie attended university as a result of going on an access course through which she realised that she could enter higher education. She earned her BSc in 2004 and her master's degree in research methods from the University of Nottingham in 2005. She completed her doctorate in 2009 on "Finding value on a council estate: complex lives, motherhood, and exclusion", also at Nottingham,[3] which dealt with white working class mothers with mixed-race children on the St Ann's estate where she lived at the time. The decision to choose that topic was also a direct result of Mckenzie's personal experiences.[2]

Politics and activism[edit]

Mckenzie is active in left-wing politics and regularly attends demonstrations in London. She opposes social mobility and instead wants the living standards of all working-class people to rise. She opposes private education and the charitable status of private schools. She opposes the sale of public housing through the right-to-buy legislation and wants to keep it public.[4] In April 2015, she was arrested at a protest over the "poor door" at One Commercial Street in London and charged with three public order offences.[5] She was acquitted of all charges.

In May 2015, McKenzie was the Class War party candidate for the Chingford and Woodford Green constituency in the British general election of that year.[6][7] She received 53 votes (0.1 of the votes cast).[8] The incumbent member of Parliament, Iain Duncan Smith, was re-elected.

In September 2015, Mckenzie took part in an anti-gentrification protest in London in which the Cereal Killer Cafe was targeted.[9][10] She was criticised subsequently for saying that the publicity was good for the owners.[11]

Media appearances[edit]

In 2012, Mckenzie appeared on BBC Radio 4's Thinking Allowed with Laurie Taylor to discuss working class alienation in Nottingham.[2]

Selected publications[edit]

  • "Narratives from the inside: re-studying St Anns in Nottingham". Sociological Review. 3: 457–476. August 2012. 
  • "Narratives from a Nottingham council estate: A story of white working class mothers with mixed-race children". Ethnic and Racial Studies. May 2013. 
  • "Foxtrotting the Riot: The slow rioting in Britain's Inner City". Sociological Research Online. Special Issue: Collisions, Coalitions and Riotous Subjects: Reflections and Repercussions. August 2013. 
  • Getting by: Estates, class and culture in austerity Britain. Bristol: Policy Press, 2015. ISBN 978-1-4473-0995-6. 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Lisa Mckenzie (21 Jan 2017). "The estate we're in: how working class people became the 'problem'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2017-07-19. 
  2. ^ a b c Working class alienation - Nottingham council estate. Thinking Aloud, BBC Radio 4, 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  3. ^ Dr Lisa Mckenzie. London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Sociology. 16 September 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  4. ^ Five reasons why Class War's Lisa McKenzie thinks you should vote for her. Natalie Glanvill, The Guardian, 22 April 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  5. ^ Texan Billionaire Friend of Royalty Targets Class War. Class War Party, 22 May 2015. Archived at Internet Archive. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  6. ^ Class War to spar with IDS in hustings. Class War Party, 22 April 2015. Archived at Internet Archive. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  7. ^ "Why I have to stand against Iain Duncan Smith in the general election | Lisa McKenzie | Society | The Guardian". Retrieved 2015-10-01. 
  8. ^ "General Election results, 7 May 2015". Archived from the original on 2 October 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-01. 
  9. ^ "'Attack on Cereal Killer cafe is good publicity for them' | London | News | London Evening Standard". Retrieved 2015-10-01. 
  10. ^ "Cereal offenders: who are the anti-gentrification protesters and are they justified?". Retrieved 2015-10-01. 
  11. ^ "LSE's Lisa McKenzie claims Cereal Killer Cafe owners happy about the publicity | Daily Mail Online". Retrieved 2015-10-01.