University of Sussex
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Revisiting the legacy of deindustrialisation: towards a history of emotion, camaraderie, and class in a former coalmining borough in South Yorkshire, 1970s to the present

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posted on 2023-06-10, 04:17 authored by Lee Waddington
This thesis is centred around the memories and experiences of ex-coal miners in and surrounding Barnsley, South Yorkshire. It is a socio-cultural history that takes coalmining and coalfield deindustrialisation (alongside regeneration) as its foci. Drawing heavily on the oral histories of ex-miners, it illustrates the symbolic and economic violence of deindustrialisation and its emotional legacy by bringing together an analysis of emotion, camaraderie, and class in men’s working lives from 1970s to the present. It outlines three main arguments. Firstly, it argues that a stigmatisation of people and places persists in a web of discursive representations of coal in the twenty-first century. Representations involving moral condemnation, condescending compassion, and class erasure are discerned as a cultural legacy of deindustrialisation. Many interviewees have internalised these historical and contemporary representations, affecting how they remember and render coalmining. Secondly, arising from men’s testimonies was a reoccurring motif of camaraderie. Situating itself within deindustrialisation scholarship, it argues that camaraderie has perhaps been overlooked as an analytical tool and historical experience. Employing Monique Scheer’s concept of ‘emotional practices,’ it illustrates how camaraderie was inextricably linked to men’s subjectivity and the exercise of power, cutting across dimensions of class, masculinity, and age. Lamentations over the loss of camaraderie in ‘new’ workplaces signify a more profound rupture in men’s emotional lives; it disrupts how they express and experience emotion, important in the constitution of a collective sense of self. Lastly, taking into consideration a politics of ‘moving on’ permeating regeneration and neoliberal discourse, it argues that utterances ‘move on’ and ‘get on’ are meaningful ways ex-miners understand and respond to the legacy of deindustrialisation. These emotive responses can affect conceptions of time, and memories and experiences of industrial closures, and are instrumental in accommodating the structural violence of deindustrialisation and its aftermath.


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  • doctoral

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  • eng


University of Sussex

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