Matt Beebee

Department: History
Discipline: History

Project Summary

My project is exploring the changing nexus between class, work and place in vernacular ideas of identity and belonging in England between the 1960s and 2000s, particularly in light of the process of deindustrialisation. I am primarily making use of the surviving fieldnotes and interviews from social-science research and oral history projects to comparatively examine the case studies of Wallsend (Tyneside) and the Isle of Sheppey (Kent). Within a broader narrative framework of deindustrialisation, this project seeks to pay particularly close attention to the specificities and meanings of place to working-class identity over the course of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century as a way to critique the currently salient – but inherently problematic and, I argue, ahistorical – conceptualisation of the working-class as "left-behind somewheres".

Supervisory Team

Professor Jon Lawrence (Exeter) and Professor Hugh Pemberton (Bristol).

Wider Research Interests

My main academic interests are in twentieth century British social and cultural history, especially:

  • Working-class everyday life in the post-war period with a focus on the nexus between class, work and place;
  • Perceptions of economic and social change and images of the future in the 1970s and 1980s and its relationship to the politics of “Thatcherism”;
  • The social and cultural history of deindustrialisation and its impact/legacies;
  • The Labour Party's use (and abuse) of history;
  • The history of social-science research.