Over several months, women in the English city of Worcester shared their life stories with openDemocracy. These were not just local conversations; often, these women saw forces of change at remote economic and political levels as influences on their daily lives. Recounting how, in the midst of such change, they sustained their sense of personhood, belonging, and security, they announced themselves as quintessentially modern people: the contemporaries, and equals, of political spin-doctors, hunter-gatherers, soldiers and firefighters around the world.
The encounter with the women of Worcester is for its co-editor also an illuminating journey of the mind.
The diverse, refreshing voices of Worcester women share a fundamental disillusion with mainstream politics. Yet the project to market politics like a consumer brand can only reinforce this trend, says a scholar and former New Labour policy advisor. Instead, we need empowerment of citizens, communication and better leadership if the bonds of trust are to be restored.
This old school Conservative with a social conscience has good memories of a secure life in Lincolnshire, Cambridge, and London. But, as she tells openDemocracy, her work with the London poor, and encounters with the Worcester young, confirm her sense of a society losing its sense of discipline and authority. As for politics, when you have voted for Churchill and Thatcher, how could Blair or Hague inspire?
Behind the conventional facade of the latest Worcester Woman in our series of interviews is a rich inner world, reflecting twentieth century pain and twenty-first century hopes.
Politicians? Vicky would stop them running things at all. Labour looked promising once. But to a single mother, battling racism and postcode health, theyve failed to deliver fairness. She gives us her perspective in the following interview.
She dislikes politics but always votes, believes in monarchy but is caustic about the royals. In her interview, this farm managers wife tells us that playing bridge with Minnesota on the net is second nature. But is there a place in her world view for the London ivory tower?
This police officer would not have her 24-hour job any other way, even in a small town with no respite from drugs, alcohol, racism, and petty crime. But why does she see the answer in changing the culture of government? Read her answers here.
Resisting new supermarkets and seeing a plc purchasing her health centre has taught this Worcester Woman far more about the modern world than Westminsters childish waffle. In this interview, she reveals that democracy for her means accountability and an end to facelessness. But how to breach the circle of power?
Worcester has offered tradition, homeliness, and prosperity to this proud Englishwoman and journalist. But she tells in this interview how her tranquillity is disturbed by threats to her countrys well-being.
From Cathedral to farmers market, the city is a source of secure identity for this Worcester woman we interviewed. But how do her Christian values and nostalgia for the 1950s face up to todays violence, materialism and Tony Blair?
In this interview for Worcester Women... three neighbours meet when the shit backs up into their kitchens. They play the "game", beat the system, and meet the queen.
Retirement for Edith Little means more time to teach computer classes and campaign against fox-hunting - there is a future to be embraced. In this interview, a "silver surfer" continues the Worcester Women series.
Worcester Women fit none of the stereotypes. Emma Auster, for instance, is a single mother - and a self-employed businesswoman. But will she even vote?
Worcester Woman is the creation of Britains spin doctors. Every concept has a history. This one reveals the cynicism of the party machines. Can real women in Worcester bite the hand that spun them?
The first in the series of Worcester Women. In an interview with openDemocracy, Susan Harrison is sceptical of bureaucrats, corporations, lobbyists, the church and politicians. But is she cynical?
And are there Big Macs still for tea? Richard Brooks returns from exile to take the pulse of the city that spawned a cliché.