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Heroic workers and angry young men: Nostalgic stories of class in England

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Publication details

JournalThe European Journal of Cultural Studies.
DateE-pub ahead of print - 6 Aug 2014
DatePublished (current) - Dec 2014
Issue number6
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)701-720
Early online date6/08/14
Original languageEnglish


This article discusses nostalgic images of white working-class life through the twin figures of ‘the heroic worker’ and ‘the angry young man’. Using a case study of a discussion of Roy Williams’ play Vultures, I consider the ways in which nostalgic figures are used to position a contemporary white working class as lacking value. I argue that these nostalgic figures provide anchor points in decline narratives which, I argue, have come to define the ways in which the English white working class are represented. Hence, I argue that some forms of nostalgic class representations may be one means through which continued disparagement of contemporary white working-class people is rendered respectable.

    Research areas

  • Benjamin, Bourdieu, nostalgia, social class, time

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