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Title: Collective memory in the mining communities of South Wales
Author: Selway, David
ISNI:       0000 0004 6422 998X
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2017
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Coal mining communities across Britain have often been argued to have possessed powerful collective memories of past struggles, though such memories have, as yet, been little studied. This thesis is a study of the collective memory of the interwar years within the mining communities of south Wales, and explores the ways in which the great strikes and lockouts, underground accidents, the interwar depression, and clashes with police and strike-breakers were remembered by the men and women of the coalfield. Using nearly 200 oral history interviews that were recorded in the 1970s, alongside newspapers, political and trade union records, novels and other sources, this study examines collective remembering as a reciprocal interaction between the public representations of the past, and the memories and attitudes of individuals. It argues, firstly, that individual memory did not just reflect or rework discourses about past events, but was itself an important agent in shaping and creating collective understandings of that history. Those individual memories remained integral to those collective memories, rather than being subsumed within or subjugated by them. It also suggests that the relationship between individual and collective memory should not be seen as necessarily oppositional, nor as between two distinct and separate types of memory, but rather as a spectrum. Secondly, it argues that the experiences of the inter-war years were understood and remembered within a number of distinct temporalities. Strikes and protests were often recalled within a linear framework, accidents underground were understood as a cyclical experience, whilst the depression was seen as a discontinuous rupture. It thus argues that conceptions of historical time were not singular, but plural and overlapping, and were themselves shaped and transformed by historical events. It thus traces understandings of time and how these changed at a popular level, rather than an intellectual or cultural one, through examining the memories, thoughts and attitudes of the men and women of the south Wales coalfield.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: D016.14 Oral history ; DA722 19th-20th centuries