Spatial relations, histories from below and the makings of agency: Reflections on The Making of the English Working Class at 50

David Featherstone, Paul Griffin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

In this paper we propose a conversation between work in labour history and labour geography, in part centring on the formative contribution of E.P. Thompson. We contend that the commitment to multiple and political forms of agency and working-class experience and the positioning of class as process, which are lasting contributions of The Making of the English Working Class, offer resources for re-invigorating debates on agency within labour geography and beyond. The paper scrutinizes the spatial politics at work in Thompson’s account of agency and experience through drawing on critiques of Thompson by feminist and post-colonial scholars. The paper explores the significance of Thompson’s work for asserting a spatial politics of labour and argues for attention to the diverse agentic spatial practices shaped through labour organizing and struggles. The paper concludes by setting out some key aspects of the terms of a conversation between labour geographies and labour histories.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-393
JournalProgress in Human Geography
Volume40
Issue number3
Early online date8 Apr 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016

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