The spatial politics of Red Clydeside: historical labour geographies and radical connections

Griffin, Paul (2015) The spatial politics of Red Clydeside: historical labour geographies and radical connections. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Red Clydeside was a period of increasing industrial, political and social unrest during the early twentieth century. This research draws upon an innovative combination of theoretical work from labour geography, labour history, historical geography and spatial politics to illuminate factors previously understated within this established labour history. In particular, the thesis builds upon contributions from labour geographers alongside E.P. Thompson and the broader ‘history from below’ tradition. These contributions facilitate a nuanced understanding of labour agency and experiences, which can be developed through the histories of Red Clydeside. By assembling materials from a variety of archives the thesis interrogates the making of connections by Clydeside’s workers. These connections advance an understanding of the contrasting modalities of labour internationalisms, which juxtapose the building of translocal solidarities with racialised geographies of exclusion. This emphasis on internationalism is complimented by an account of Clydeside’s working class presence that is inclusive of different political positions within the region. These perspectives consist of intersecting aspects of working class movements, including parliamentary left activism, anarchism and the suffrage movement. To develop an understanding of these diverse perspectives the thesis engages with multiple case studies. These include key labour strikes, such as the 1911 Singer strike and 1919 Forty Hours Movement, political individuals, such as Guy Aldred, Helen Crawfurd and James Maxton and longer organising processes of the labour movement. The thesis argues that these examples contributed towards an overall working class presence, which was characterised by diverse and dynamic labour practices. These histories relate closely to more recent debates regarding labour, particularly within labour geography. Overall, the thesis pushes labour geography in new directions by stressing the capabilities of working class agency to actively shape spaces and places, and builds upon this field by reasserting the importance of labour histories and a broader conceptualisation of labour experiences.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: labour geography, labour history, Red Clydeside, history from below, usable pasts
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HX Socialism. Communism. Anarchism
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Supervisor's Name: David, Dr. Featherstone and Andrew, Dr. Cumbers
Date of Award: 2015
Depositing User: Mr Paul Griffin
Unique ID: glathesis:2015-6583
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2015 07:49
Last Modified: 30 Jul 2015 15:28

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