Obstinate memory: Working-class politics and neoliberal forgetting in the United Kingdom and Chile
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AbstractIn the 40 years since Chile and the United Kingdom became the crucibles of neoliberalization, working-class agency has been transformed, its institutions systematically dismantled and its politics, after the continuity neoliberalism of both the UK Blair government and the Chilean Concertación, in a crisis of legitimacy. In the process, memories of struggle have been captured within narratives of ‘capitalist realism’ (Fisher) – the present, past and future collapsed into Walter Benjamin’s ‘empty homogeneous time’. This article explores ways in which two traumatic moments of working-class struggle have been narrativized by the media in the service of this ‘presentism’: the 1973 coup in Chile and the 1984–1985 Miners’ Strike in the United Kingdom. We argue that the use of ‘living history’ or bottom-up approaches to memory provides an urgently needed recovery of disruptive narratives of class identity and offers a way of reclaiming alternative futures from the grip of reductive economic nationalism.
CitationWatkins, H., & Urbina-Montana, M. (2022). Obstinate memory: Working-class politics and neoliberal forgetting in the United Kingdom and Chile. Memory Studies, 15(5), 1127–1141. https://doi.org/10.1177/17506980211073111
Description© 2022 The Authors. Published by SAGE. This is an open access article available under a Creative Commons licence. The published version can be accessed at the following link on the publisher’s website: https://doi.org/10.1177/17506980211073111
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