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Assembling CulturesWorkplace Activism, Labour Militancy and Cultural Change in Britain's Car Factories, 1945-82$
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Jack Saunders

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781526133397

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.7765/9781526133403

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Car workers, trade unions and public discourse

Car workers, trade unions and public discourse

(p.25) 1 Car workers, trade unions and public discourse
Assembling Cultures

Jack Saunders

Manchester University Press

This chapter looks at the development of public discourse around trade union militancy and car workers between the 1940s and 1970s. This chapter argues that car factory activists confronted an ever-rising level of hostility from various sectors of public discourse over this period. Commentary on workplace activism in the motor industry was structured by reformist narratives about “unofficial strikes”, “closed shops”, “restricted practices” up to the 1970s, when more alarmist ideas about “decline” and “industrial chaos” became more dominant. Rising hostility to car workers’ behaviour was the context in which they built their trade union organisations.

Keywords:   Public discourse, The media, Transgressive behaviour, Militancy, Declinism

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