Working-Class Culture and Practice amid Urban Renewal and Decline: Liverpool, c.1965-1985



Warner, Daniel
(2018) Working-Class Culture and Practice amid Urban Renewal and Decline: Liverpool, c.1965-1985. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the relationship between Liverpool’s urban space and its inner city communities between 1965 and 1985. As a period in which the city was buffeted by urban planning, urban renewal and urban decline, it illustrates the profound effects these processes had over the materiality of the city and the geography and culture of its communities. In doing so, it exposes the mutually constitutive relations between people and place in the postwar city. Landscapes created by planners and local government, and their subsequent decline, deeply shaped the structure of and potential for everyday life. The rich and diverse populations that existed underneath and alongside these processes demonstrates how communities retained an agency within these frameworks with which to shape their own lives. Their cultures and practices were deeply embedded within the cityscape, immeasurably shaping Liverpool. In drawing upon a combination of oral histories, photography and archival sources (including sociologies and urban planning documents), this thesis considers the relationship between the state, the city and its citizens. It illustrates how attempts to exert authority and control over the urban working class were met with myriad responses. It demonstrates the capacity of Liverpool’s inner city communities to resist, thwart and modify the plans and schemes that attempted to mould and shape their behaviour. It positions mundane and everyday cultures and practices as a form of resistance to exercises in state power. Moreover, it stipulates that these interactions ‘produced’ a series of spaces, to which the spaces of religion, sport, childhood and policing are examined. In illustrating the disparity between the city’s attempted shaping and actual use, it stresses the need for histories to focus on the experiences of the planned, and not simply on the plan or the planners. This thesis also provides a detailed investigation into the spaces, places and discursive constructs that became adopted into discourses regarding the inner city’s social breakdown. It furthers our understandings into the particularities of its “crisis” and exposes the diverse ways in which these endemic notions filtered down into everyday life. Furthermore, in presenting the memories of renewal and decline through oral histories, it critiques the wider cultural representations that have obscured, marginalised and stereotyped the inner city’s residents. Instead, it positions the inner city as a lively, productive and contested social and cultural space. In doing so, it contributes to our understandings of postwar working-class life and the history of the postwar British city.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Divisions: Fac of Humanities & Social Sci > School of Histories, Languages and Cultures
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2018 13:51
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2021 05:37
DOI: 10.17638/03019748
Supervisors:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3019748