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Title: Politics and the mass press in long Edwardian Britain, 1896-1914
Author: Shoop-Worrall, Christopher
ISNI:       0000 0004 8499 032X
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis explores the political significance of the Daily Mail, Daily Express and the Daily Mirror during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. On the one hand, the thesis explores and analyses the three newspapers' political contents published during the four general elections of the period: 1900, 1906, and January and December of 1910. On the other hand, the thesis investigates how these three newspapers - all of which launched during the period under investigation - were understood throughout the Long Edwardian era by people across three British political parties: the Liberals, the Conservatives/Unionists, and Labour. It is contended that the rise and consolidation of this new daily mass press represented an important period not just in histories of the British press, but in histories of the British political system. The ways in which these new newspapers reported on political affairs made them a significant part of the political culture of pre-Great War Britain, as they helped disseminate political discourse to larger numbers of politically-engaged citizens than any previous iteration of mass British media. They achieved this through election-time political coverage which drew on much of the emotive sensationalism of their human-interest content, as well as the wider mass entertainment and consumer culture of Long Edwardian Britain. This array of written and visual content across all three newspapers helped to represent elections to their readers as events that were entertaining, accessible, and where the archetypal 'man in the street' held considerable political power. Moreover, their potential as a medium for mass political communication resonated at the time, as people from Britain's major political parties reacted to and understood the political significance of these new, hugely-popular newspapers in different ways. This thesis will contribute to a number of academic fields. Firstly, it challenges existing chronologies of the history of the modern popular press. Rather than representing a decline from past iterations of popular political presses, or signalling an inevitable progression towards the popular press of the later twentieth century, the new dailies were an important conduit for mass public participation in politics through their shared voice that articulated political content in ways that appeared to reflect and connect with the lives and interests of large sections of British society. Moreover, they were a key component of the masculine mass election culture which has been noted by recent scholarship on the politics of Long Edwardian Britain. Secondly, it highlights the importance, and often-overlooked potential, of early popular media as a historical news source. Traditionally overlooked, the content of emergent popular newspapers is used to provide important insight into how traditionally elite areas of public life - such as politics - were represented, and connected to, the lives of mass audiences. Thirdly, this thesis contributes to histories of both pre-Great War British political parties and wider political culture, by exploring the differing extents to which different political groups understood, and reacted to, the communicative potential of the popular press, and how these reactions add to or challenge existing conclusions about the relationships between those parties, the press and the wider electorate.
Supervisor: Conboy, Martin ; Bingham, Adrian Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available