Political cultures in British trade unionism and their dissemination : 1931 – 1951

Richardson, SA 2016, Political cultures in British trade unionism and their dissemination : 1931 – 1951 , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Abstract

This study is an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded collaborative project between Salford University and the Working Class Movement Library (WCML). The project seeks to investigate and analyse, both diachronically and synchronically, the political cultures within major British trade unions affiliated to the Labour Party, the way in which these relate to the ideologies of working-class political movements generally, and how they are situated within wider contemporaneous debates. Typically research into trade unions has focused on the industrial side of their work, their official doctrine, and their formal and explicit policies, as expressed through conference speeches, resolutions and voting behaviour. In contrast this study focuses on the morphology of the ideology and ethos of the different unions and their membership, looking beneath the official policies and overt statements to ascertain their common-sense understandings and unconscious and unquestioned received wisdom, which may have been invisible to the participants, but is exposed with the passage of time. The relationship between the ideological understandings expressed through the journals, the dominant strands of socialist thought, and Labour Party policy, will also be investigated. The key sources for the project are in-house journals (1931-1951), written by and for trade unionists affiliated to the Labour Party, which are held at the WCML. The Amalgamated Engineering Union (AEU) and the National Union of General and Municipal Workers (NUGMW) have been selected for scrutiny: the NUGMW, a general union in which ‘labourism’ dominated, and the AEU, a traditional craft union renowned for its centrist leadership and powerful communist influenced, shop steward movement. The journal of the Aircraft Shop Stewards’ National Council (ASSNC), the New Propellor, is also included, not as a co-equivalent to the official union journals, but as a representative benchmark of the ideological understandings of many engineering activists, who agitated and promoted left-wing socialist and communist interpretations.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Depositing User: SA Richardson
Date Deposited: 31 May 2017 12:17
Last Modified: 31 May 2017 12:17
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/41186

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