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Title: The relevance of social class, communications, and general location, in contemporary British Labour Party politics, with a focus on North-West Cumbria
Author: Steuart, Kieran Jamie
ISNI:       0000 0004 7225 4026
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: University of Cumbria
Date of Award: 2018
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The aim of this study is to investigate the relevance of social class in relation to general support for the Labour Party both within a national and localised context, with a specific focus placed upon the area of North-West Cumbria. This is achieved by following the research hypothesis that states that the party since the emergence of New Labour, is with their classless brand, more effective on a political level than their collectivist Old Labour predecessor. Such analysis, using a mixture of primary and secondary methods, is framed within a three-themed research phenomenon. The phenomenon begins via the first theme ‘Class/Identity’ which defined the extensive atomised shift in perceived class categorisation in contemporary Britain. The analysis of the latter then links to the second theme ‘(Labour) Party’ which evaluates such shifts to that of Labour support, ranging from the historic ‘Old’ and ‘New’ eras to the present ‘Post New’ incarnation. This primarily states how the rise of the New Right inspired New Labour to modernise their core political message to accommodate the new atomised class culture, so as to gain broader levels of support. The research phenomenon concludes with the third theme ‘Geography (North-West Cumbria)’ which explores how such class atomisation affected Labour support on a broad locational basis, particularly within North-West Cumbria. The thesis findings generally concur with the research hypothesis since the New Labour brand was somewhat successful in rural areas which hitherto had been deemed unattainable by Old Labour. Such findings, be it nationally and/or locally, are a symptom of contemporary class times where political allegiance has become less ideologically centred, and more brand-orientated and homogeneous. This thesis structure also makes a contribution to qualitative methods research as it provides a template of how such a research hypothesis and phenomenon can be theoretically and practically integrated.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: 301 Sociology & anthropology ; 305 Social groups (incl. class ; race & gender) ; 307 Communities (incl. rural & urban sociology) ; 320 Politics