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Book Launch: A Precarious Life, Dr Roxana Willis

23 November @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

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A Precarious Life explores how residents on a disadvantaged council estate manage conflict and classed interactions with the British state. The long-term ‘ethnography at home’ is narrated through the life and death of the author’s father, Paul, who worked in the coke ovens of the Corby steelworks until its closure in 1980. After closure, Paul ran a mobile grocery shop on his council estate and surrounding areas, which suffered an assortment of injuries in the post-industrial decades that followed. By engaging closely with the social practices of Paul and members of his relational community, this book provides an emic account of the classed and racialized tensions that occur within a precariously situated subsection of society. As the chapters progress, a complex ethical terrain is brought into view, where moral conflicts and dilemmas are rife. From this new perspective, a disjuncture becomes apparent between top-down theories that guide the criminal law, on the one hand, and, on the other, norms that make better sense of the social world navigated by residents on an over-criminalized estate. A Precarious Life calls on legal scholars to better understand and engage with this alternative normative order, which embraces an ethics of honesty, relationality, solidarity, and care.

Comments by:

Professor Nicola Lacey (

Professor Insa Koch (

Professor Mike Savage (

The event will be followed by a drinks reception.

This event is co-hosted by the International Inequalities Institute


23 November
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Category:


Cafe 54
Ground Floor, Cheng Kin Ku Building, 54 Lincoln's Inn Fields, LSEG
London, WC2A 3LJ United Kingdom
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