Matt Beebee

Department: History
Discipline: History

Project Summary

My project is exploring the impact of deindustrialisation on popular constructions of selfhood, belonging and community since the 1960s. 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 Dr Amy Edwards (Bristol).

Wider Research Interests

My main academic interests are in British social and cultural history since 1945. In particular, I am interested in histories of everyday life with a focus on class cultures, work, place, belonging and selfhood; popular perceptions of economic and social change and images of the future; and the multifaceted impact and legacies of deindustrialisation.

Authored Publications/Reports

(December 2020) Navigating deindustrialization in 1970s Britain: The closure of Bilston Steel Works and the politics of work, place, and belonging, Labour History Review