This book reflects upon the wide range of Chris Wrigley's research and publications in the study of the various aspects of British labour history. It presents a set of themes revolving around the British labour movement and the lives of those connected with it. The book begins with a discussion on biography in the shape of George Howell's work on trade unions and presents Herbert Gladstone's view that the unions emerged from the medieval workers guilds. Chris was also interested in political figures connected with progressivism and the labour movement, which is reflected in the examination of Gladstone's role in the Liberal Party. There is an examination of the Co-operative Party in the north-east of England, the 1911 National Insurance Act, and the relationship between the unions and the Labour Party. The inter-war British labour politics is covered by the disaffiliation of the Independent Labour Party (ILP) from the Labour Party and by a study of the Progressive League. British and German working class lives are compared in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Female trade unionism is dealt with a focus on Association of Women Clerks and Secretaries (AWCS). The contribution of the Lansburys is brought by an essay on the role of the family members in working-class politics, including women's enfranchisement. The book also deals with the attempt by the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) to engage with punk music, and ends with a discussion on the theme of Labour disunity.
This is a unique study of working-class writing and community publishing. It evaluates the largely unexamined history of the emergence and development of working-class writing and publishing workshops since the 1970s. The nature of working-class writing is assessed in relation to the work of young people, older people, adult literacy students as well as writing workshops. Key themes and tensions in working-class writing are explored in relation to historical and literary frameworks. This is the first in-depth study of this body of writing. In addition, a number of crucial debates are examined, for example, over class and identity, critical pedagogy and learning, relationships with audiences and the role of mainstream cultural institutions in comparison with alternatives. The contradictions and tensions in all these areas are surveyed in coming to a historical understanding of this topic.
The idea of Brighton as a hot-bed of radical class-consciousness in inter-war Britain is an unconventional one. That the dominant images of working class England in the middle years of the twentieth century are 'northern' or metropolitan is thanks to a flowering of community and cultural studies for which the research of Mass Observation provided important antecedents. This book argues that a consideration of Richard Hoggart's critics allows us to open up an important set of questions for discussion. It commences with an exploration of class identifications in England since the 1940s. The experience of and meanings attached to class change for individuals across their lives in relation to historically shifting formations of class within cultures. The book then focuses on the twin modernising forces which reshaped working class neighbourhoods in the period between the 1920s and the mid-1970s: slum clearance and council housing. It explores the ways in which people's senses of belonging to and identification with particular neighbourhoods were formed. Conflicts over the transgression of neighbourhood norms regarding acceptable behaviour, arguments over children's noise, over help which went unreciprocated, debts which went unpaid and domestic or intra-family violence were also a feature of neighbourhood life. Through the contested, multivalent remembered experiences of past communities, the complex, relational construction of social memories can be seen. The book also explores the dynamics of working class household economies and examines the continuities which existed between the modern council estates and older districts in terms of cultures of economic and emotional resourcefulness.
This book analyses the development of male leisure against the changing notions of citizenship which underpinned perceptions of British society during the period 1850-1945. It opens with an examination of the 'leisure' problem of the middle decades of the nineteenth century. After the defeat of Chartism and associated challenges to the employers' right to organise the workplace, factory owners, the clergy and philanthropists established schemes of rational recreation designed to attract and educate working-class males. The book explores how schemes of rational recreation attempted to create the model citizen and the impact of these strategies on male working-class leisure. Taking three influential leisure activities - drink, the music hall and association football - the book explores their impact on both concepts of citizenship and male leisure patterns. In addition, commercial leisure also highlighted the marked gender divides in leisure activities found within working-class households. The book investigates the generational issues that shaped male working-class leisure. The increase in non-apprenticed semi-skilled work, particularly in the 'new' industry regions, raised fears that monotonous working practices and new leisure activities were a dangerous social cocktail. Moreover the book investigates how, during the late Victorian and early Edwardian era, the problem of a 'degenerate' youth became entwined with anxieties over the future of empire. It further contextualises male leisure against the dominant concerns between 1918 and 1945. This era saw the suburbanisation of British cities, continued anxieties over male citizenry and increased international tensions that led to war.
The preceding chapter offered an initial analysis of populism as something not only consistent with but intrinsic to democratic culture. As I will argue in this chapter, the origins of democratic political culture reside in protracted working-class struggle in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The conception of class adopted here will be a relational one. As Ellen Meiksins Wood ( 2016 ) notes, there are, broadly speaking, two paradigms of analysis, according to which class is considered ‘as a structural location or as a social relation ’ ( 2016
This book examines how the working-class people are portrayed in the British cinema. One objective of this work is to take a modest step in redressing the balance by considering the popularity of the films discussed. A second objective is to demonstrate how film might be used by disciplines whose practitioners often display scant interest in its possibilities. The third objective is to consider what films can contribute to the debate on the consequences of war. A final objective is to test received opinion. The book discusses a five-dimensional model for examining images of the working class in films. These are: place in the authority structure; cohesion/fragmentation within the working-class community; internalised values; the built environment; and personal signifiers of class, notably speech, hairstyles and clothing. It deals with the war films that were made in the context working class community, and discusses The Way to the Stars, The Hasty Heart, and Wooden Horse. With the approach of war in the late 1930s, changes in censorship allowed industrial disputes to be portrayed on British screens for the first time. The working class community was portrayed in It Always Rains on Sunday to better effect as compared to Passport to Pímlíco. Three groups of criminals make regular appearances in postwar British films: spivs, who are black market traders; those have served in the forces; and career criminals. The book also deals with several British films in the postwar years focusing on dance hall, namely, Floodtide, Waterloo Road, and Dance Hall.
In the previous chapter, we discovered the broad conceptual range
of Epstein’s master word, photogénie. What it seeks to link are: the
embodiment of the viewer and the actors; the cinema apparatus
as positive and ethical mediation (compared to Walter Benjamin’s
aura-damaging mediation); and a paradoxical aesthetics at once
avant-garde and utterly modernist, and rearguard in insisting that
sensorial experiencing in the cinema remains haunted by the ghost
of Symbolism. This complexity explains how easy it has been for
The culture of the British workingclass
The preceding analysis of the rise of the British workingclass makes clear that many cultural elements were present in its inception: religious, literary and educational. As the nineteenth century wore on, however, a distinct trend arose in reaction to the rise of the British workingclass. This trend was directed by the basic idea that culture, in its ‘proper’ sense, was something intrinsically alien to the workingclass; something into which this class needed to be inducted. In other words, the workingclass
The denigration of the workingclass
In the previous chapter we considered the interpretation, offered by prominent cultural theorists and historians of the left, of the development and legacy of British working-class politics. Having a sense of this historical background is necessary, I believe, in order to gauge the social position of the British workingclass in recent decades. When I was born, in 1969, Britain was a considerably more economically equal country than it is today (see The Equality Trust, 2017 ). It seems intuitively plausible that higher
Working-class writing and publishing in the late twentieth century
5 The workshop and working-class
The workshop served as a testing ground where prolonged commitment to
writing was facilitated. Initial attempts to get something on the page produced
eclectic results and could not be categorised easily. Those unaccustomed to writing sometimes felt that existing literature did not provide them with adequate
models. Such a body of writing could appear daunting. Working-class writers
struggled to connect their experiences and emotions to what was on