Richard Jobson
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Introduction
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After an initial discussion of recent developments in the Labour Party, this introduction examines New Labour’s critique of ‘Old Labour’. New Labour often declared that Old Labour had been a fundamentally nostalgic party. Although this idea was underdeveloped and lacked analytical depth, it provides a starting point for an examination of Labour’s relationship with nostalgia. Through an engagement with existing studies on memory (and, more specifically, nostalgia), identity and power, this chapter moves on to outline how the idea of the group ‘nostalgia-identity’ offers a useful conceptual lens through which to assess Labour’s post-war development. It provides an overview of the academic literature on Labour and highlights the ways in which a study that explores the impact of nostalgia on the party’s trajectory offers something innovative. This introduction ends with an assessment of the extent, contours and significance of Labour’s male traditional industrial working-class identity in 1951.

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