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Title: 'End of an era?' : class politics, memory & Britain's winter of discontent
Author: Martin, Tara
ISNI:       0000 0004 2670 476X
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2008
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In the midst of the freezing winter of 1978 and 1979, more than 2,000 strikes erupted across Britain. In what became infamously known as the "Winter of Discontent," workers struck against the Labour Government's attempts to curtail wage increases with an incomes policy. The defeat of this incomes policy, and Labour's subsequent electoral defeat, ushered in an era of unprecedented political, economic, and social change for Britain. Conservative victory under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher, not only seemed to signal the disillusion of "traditional" working-class ties to the Labour Party, but it also appeared as if a new era had begun, one where British working class politics was finally on its last leg. Furthermore, a potent social myth has developed around the Winter of Discontent, one where "bloody-minded" workers bring down a sympathetic govemment and "invite" the ravages of Thatcherism to the British labour movement. My thesis, on the other hand, moves beyond the myth and uses the previouslyunexamined experiences of rank and file activists to not only situate their narrative in the foreground, but to examine how the memories of participants compare and/or contrast with that of the negative social myth of the Winter of Discontent. I argue, first of all, that rather than the caricature of "bloody-minded wreckers" that has subsequently served to delegitimize working class politics, my research shows striking workers were inspired by were inspired by a multitude of complex economic and political motivations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available