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Title: Ghosts on the Tyne : the past as a resource for young working-class men in the post recessionary present
Authors: Finn, Jonathon
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis explores how young working-class men living in a former shipbuilding community – Walker in the East End of Newcastle-upon-Tyne - think about the interlinked and overlapping eras of industrialism and deindustrialisation. This includes the ways in which they remember industrial work and its loss, the strategies that they use to frame and comment upon this shared past, and how they draw on and invoke this history to help them understand the present and imagine the future. The experiences of thirty participants are explored to understand how their engagement with the shared past impacts upon their everyday lives and lived experiences in the post-industrial city. I argue that the young men who I researched remain connected to the past in multifarious ways and that they invoke and mobilise this history to help them navigate a socio-economic landscape whose contours have been shaped by the ‘Crisis Decades’ of deindustrialisation and our present ‘Age of Austerity’. This thesis makes three significant contributions. The first is demonstrating that the industrial past remains an important aspect of the lives of my participants. This builds on existing research and argues that although some of the young men with whom I worked tended towards thinking about the past in atavistic and reactionary ways, they were just as capable of engaging with it in a critical and nuanced manner. The second contribution explores the myriad of ways in which the participants remain connected with their shared past. These links to the past include familial connections, sensory recollections that are part of their personal biographies and engagements with material cultures of the home. Together this has established ongoing connections with industrial work in a community in which it is difficult to draw a clear division between an industrial past and a post-industrial present. The third contribution reveals how deindustrialisation represents an equally important part of the lived experiences of participants. Of particular interest is that although the closures and redundancies of industrial decline continue to cast a long shadow in Walker, the young men with whom I worked engaged with in creative ways, drawing on the past to imagine themselves as more than passive and victimised cogs in the machinery of capital.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

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