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Hot MetalMaterial Culture and Tangible Labour$
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Jesse Adams Stein

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781784994341

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781784994341.001.0001

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Conclusion: factory closures, material culture and loss

Conclusion: factory closures, material culture and loss

(p.181) 8 Conclusion: factory closures, material culture and loss
Hot Metal

Jesse Adams Stein

Manchester University Press

This conclusion foregrounds the closure of Sydney’s Government Printing Office, revealing the emotive and powerful significance of material culture when an institution is extinguished. In re-telling the story of the factory closure, this chapter highlights the importance of material culture in industrial histories. Here was an unruly abundance of things, difficult and cumbersome relics of an industrial past. Workers took whatever they could smuggle out, as a way of compensating themselves for the betrayal of trust by their employers. Objects were at the centre of this story of decline and industrial closure. It is not simply that objects became connected to memory. Material culture both stirred feelings and consoled people who felt they had not been respected by the institution to which they had been loyal. Thus we return to the central message of this book: history is not merely the movement of people through time, it is bound up with the ever-changing physical and spatial world. A bringing-together of labour history with design and material culture, therefore, seems not only appropriate but entirely necessary.

Keywords:   Deindustrialisation, Workers, Factory closures, Neoliberalism, Material culture, Labour history, Pilfering

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