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Title: Becoming a man in post-War Britain : football, class and identity in Liverpool and Newcastle, 1951-1979
Author: Sheldon, Emma
ISNI:       0000 0004 5367 6477
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis uses football as a case study to examine the identities of working-class boys and men in post-war Britain. As the most popular spectator sport in England for over a century, with a widely recognised status as a site for the expression, and tool in the construction, of collective loyalties and identities, football and the discourses around it provide a valuable window into working-class culture. Through the examples of Merseyside and North East football fans, this thesis re-evaluates the extent of cultural change in the post-war era, by demonstrating the persistence of long-standing traditions and bases of identification in relation to class, gender, age and place. It also, however, challenges popular and academic understandings of such traditional culture by presenting a complex narrative of coexisting and conflicting identities that differ from stereotypical images of the ‘working man’s game’.Drawing on a combination of retrospective personal testimonies from football fans and post-war public and press discourses, this thesis contributes to a number of debates that have emerged in existing historiographical literature of this period. Firstly, it builds on attempts to dispute the findings and predictions of contemporary social commentators over the impact of affluence on traditional working-class lifestyles, values and identities, by revealing the continuation of older community attachments and practices among football fans. Additionally, it intervenes in discussions of the emergence of ‘youth’ as a distinctive basis of identification capable of overriding identities associated with class, masculinity and place, or else as the subject of adult moral panic and a source of generational rupture and conflict. This thesis, in contrast, argues that football provided a means of inter-generational cooperation. The transmission of cultural values and identities across age groups, which football enabled, further emphasises the idea of cultural continuity presented throughout. This builds on growing historiographical reappraisals of the mythologised ‘swinging sixties’ as a decade of revolution.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Football ; Post-War Britain