Obstinate memory: working class politics and neoliberal forgetting in the UK and Chile

Watkins, H. ORCID: 0000-0001-7550-9838 and Urbina-Montana, M., 2021. Obstinate memory: working class politics and neoliberal forgetting in the UK and Chile. Memory Studies. ISSN 1750-6980 (Forthcoming)

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In the forty years since Chile and the UK became the crucibles of neoliberalization, working class agency has been transformed, its institutions systematically dismantled, and its politics, after the continuity neoliberalism of both the UK Blair government and the Chilean Concertaçion, in a crisis of legitimacy. In the process, memories of struggle have been captured within narratives of ‘capitalist realism’ (Fisher) – the present, past and future collapsed into Walter Benjamin’s ‘empty homogenous time’.

This paper explores ways in which two traumatic moments of working-class struggle have been narrativized by the media in the service of this “presentism”: the 1973 coup in Chile, and the 1984-85 Miners’ Strike in the UK. We argue that the use of “living history” or bottom-up approaches to memory provides an urgently needed recovery of disruptive narratives of class identity, and offers a way of reclaiming alternative futures from the grip of reductive economic nationalism.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Memory Studies
Creators: Watkins, H. and Urbina-Montana, M.
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Date: 25 August 2021
ISSN: 1750-6980
Rights: Accepted for publication in Memory Studies. Reuse is restricted to non-commercial and no derivative uses.
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 28 Sep 2021 08:31
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2021 11:06
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/44272

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