Mining For Memory
: Remembering the Battle of Orgreave

Student thesis: Master's Thesis

Abstract

The 1984-85 miners’ strike, as the last momentous trade union struggle in the United Kingdom, has received much attention from researchers. Allegations of police brutality, the limitations on civil liberties, misrepresentation or bias in the media, and even allegations of communist interference have all been substantially covered. Reflecting more positively on the past, the role of community solidarity, especially the role of women, and the rich cultural output generated by the strike have also received much attention. However, there has been little focus on the role of memory and the ways in which the dominant narratives of the strike have been formed, changed or resisted change, and whether it is possible to speak about a dominant narrative at all.

This research arose in October 2016 at the height of discussions around an inquiry into the allegations of police violence and government collusion against the miners during the Battle of Orgreave, the most notorious clash between police and pickets of the yearlong strike. This research is an investigation into how the events at Orgreave had been represented in the media and popular culture over the past three decades, and how individuals have negotiated this change. What was the relationship between the public and private when it came to remembering the Battle of Orgreave and when did it emerge as one of the definitive moments of the strike as it had become in 2016? How had representations of the strike in the media impacted on the popular memory of the strike?
Date of Award2017
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorLucy Noakes (Supervisor) & Anita Rupprecht (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • Contemporary British History
  • Miners' Strike
  • Battle of Orgreave
  • mass observation archive
  • history
  • media studies
  • re-enactment
  • popular memory

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