TITLE

Reconstructing labour history

AUTHOR(S)
Belchem, John
PUB. DATE
December 1997
SOURCE
Labour History Review (Maney Publishing);Winter1997, Vol. 62 Issue 3, p318
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
As historians, interested in contextualisation, contestation and change, labour historians understand that identities are fluid and relational, constructed in socio-historical dialogue between dominant and subordinate groups. With the decentring of class, labour historians now readily acknowledge the multiplicity of identities on offer at individual and collective level. Continually contested, redefined and re-packaged, such identities are neither mutually exclusive nor randomly adopted. According to the author, labour history should not dismiss postmodernism. Its theoretical pretensions should be resisted, but its focus and practice should be embraced within the widening agenda of labour history. In reconstructing labour history the challenge lies less with post-modernism as preached in the academy than with the postmodern mood beyond. So, without collapsing into meaningless postmodernist relativism, labour historians have increasingly recognized the diffuse and plural nature of social relations and identities. Moreover, the postmodernists have contributed exciting work to labour history particularly in the modern British field. As post-structuralists, their interest is in the representational, in the construction of identity and social reality through language and discourse.
ACCESSION #
6380855

 

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