Emil Sokolov

Department: History
Discipline: History
Research Centre/Unit: Centre for Imperial and Global History

Project Summary

I am a recipient of a studentship funded by the Leverhulme Trust and the project that I am a part of is called 'The Age of Promises'. The overall aim of the project is to investigate what constitutes a political promise and how the act of making one has changed over time. The project's team explores twentieth century British general election manifestos (issued by political parties) and election addresses (issued on behalf of individual candidates). Examining manifestos and addresses reveals much about the changing nature of British politics, both in terms of how it was conducted practically and in terms of assumptions about the relationships between the public, candidates, and parties. Following on from this, my individual research looks at election promises about immigration and race relations between 1964 and 1979. My analysis builds up on the work of the famous Nuffield Studies, but it does more than providing a breakdown of the issues mentioned in a quarter of the election addresses. I study both the quantity and quality of the promises and statements candidates made about immigration in all 630 parliamentary constituencies across six general elections. Through the innovative use of computer-assisted qualitative data analysis (NVivo), my work reveals the ways in which both parties and individual candidates established harmful links between immigration and issues such as crime, health, and housing. My research seeks to deliver a thorough and critical examination of the political language(s) of immigration and race in British post-imperial politics. Ultimately, the question that I seek to answer is whether race and immigration issues changed the promise of future Britain.

Supervisory Team

I am supervisord by Professor Richard Toye and Professor David Thackeray, both members of the History Department in the College of Humanities.

Wider Research Interests

I am very interested in Devon's local History. In 2016, I became the Lead researcher on a project initiated by Devon Archives and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It sought to tell Ilfracombe's unique WW1 history and reveal the origins of over 500 photos of soldiers held by the local museum. The 'Faces of War' exhibition which I helped prepare was opened to the public in August 2018 and has been visited by over 5,000 people so far. 

Authored Publications/Reports

Emil Sokolov (September 2018) The Many faces of the Great War: Local patriotism and recruitment in Ilfracombe, Devon During the First World War, Devon Remembers Heritage Project, 119-123