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Beyond the Heartlands: Deindustrialization, Naturalization and the Meaning of an 'Industrial' Tradition

Nettleingham, David (2018) Beyond the Heartlands: Deindustrialization, Naturalization and the Meaning of an 'Industrial' Tradition. British Journal of Sociology, 70 (2). pp. 610-626. ISSN 0007-1315. E-ISSN 1468-4446. (doi:10.1111/1468-4446.12365) (KAR id:66358)

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Deindustrialization is a complex and multifaceted series of processes and transitions, reflecting the equally complicated web of social relationships and interdependencies that constitute(d) an industrial society. Contemporary scholars have looked beyond just the economic impact of industrial loss, to the cultural, temporal and spatial legacies and impacts wrought by the mass closures of the 1980s, as well as the continuing presence of an industrial identity in struggles over representation and regeneration. However, deindustrialization has a history that precedes the volatility and culmination of that period, and has impacted upon a more geographically diverse range of former industrial locations than are commonly represented. The narratives that surround some sites are complicated by their displacement in time, place and discourse; they lack the political capital of an ‘industrial’ identity through this disassociation. In this article I aim to go beyond what we might consider the industrial ‘heartlands’ of the UK to a place that has felt the impact of deindustrialization, but which falls outside of the usual representations of the UK’s industrial past. I explore how the industrial identity and memory of a place can be naturalized and selectively re-worked for the needs of the hour, the very meaning of ‘industrial’ altered in the process. I argue that for sites unable to access or utilize the imagery of modern, heavy industry for community or promotional aims, deindustrialization becomes a process of re-writing an historic identity – one that sheds new light on industrial loss in diverse situations, and at an ever-increasing distance from closure.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/1468-4446.12365
Uncontrolled keywords: deindustrialization, industrial identity, naturalization, representation, tradition
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research > Sociology
Depositing User: Lucie Patch
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2018 09:44 UTC
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2020 23:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Nettleingham, David:
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