2017 | 26 | 62-74
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In the Name of Unions and Nation. The Development of Welsh Labour Historiography in the 1950s — 1990s

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This article deals with the development of Welsh labour historiography after the Second World War by situating Welsh labour historiography into a broader context of social history. The aim of this article is to analyse the methodology of Welsh labour historiography, as well as to discuss in how far it was influenced by the emergence of a “new social history” represented by British Marxists. Furthermore, the article examines to what extent Welsh labour historians responded to the challenges of postmodernism. In the first part of the article, the book “Rebecca Riots” (1955) by Welsh labour historian David Williams is compared with the works of British Marxists Eric Hobsbawm and George Rudé. This is followed by two analyses: (1) an examination of the Welsh labour journal “Llafur” founded in the 1970s, and (2) an analysis of the influential book “The Fed” (1980) by Welsh labour historians Hywel Francis and David Smith dealing with the development of the Welsh mining trade-union organization. The last part of the article thematises the impact of postmodernism on Welsh labour historiography. In general, the article discusses the advantages and disadvantages of Welsh labour historiography and it argues that Welsh labour historiography could make a considerable contribution to the development of social history by introducing some concepts, such as a focus on the academic and non-academic spheres.
  • Institute of Economic and Social History, Faculty of Arts, Charles University
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