1st Edition

English Nationalism and its Ghost Towns

By Luke Telford Copyright 2022
    166 Pages
    by Routledge

    166 Pages
    by Routledge

    In order to understand today’s nationalism, we need to address the historical decline of working-class communities, the sense of loss brought by deindustrialisation and how working-class people have been denied a voice in society and politics. Discontent has manifested strongly in these deprived post-industrial areas, often branded as communities that have been left behind under neoliberal globalisation. Whilst more and more people are voicing their discontent with a system that fails to provide social security and economic stability, many researchers have branded them merely as racists, xenophobes and ill educated. Although prejudices are likely to play a part in all political outcomes, today’s dissatisfaction across the West cannot be reduced to mere emotion and intolerance.

    This book therefore utilises on-the-ground research with working-class individuals in a Leave voting locale in Britain, exploring their discontent with politicians, the Labour Party, the European Union, immigration, refugees and the prolonged calls for a second referendum. It situates this sentiment towards society and politics within the decline of capitalism's post-war era and the loss of well-paid industrial jobs, increase in non-unionised service employment and the hollowing out of community spirit.


    Chapter 1. History
    Chapter 2. Neoliberalism
    Chapter 3. The Quest to Understand Nationalism
    Chapter 4. The Industrial Age
    Chapter 5. Absent Futures
    Chapter 6. Nationalism
    Chapter 7. The Past, Present and Future


    Dr Luke Telford is a lecturer in criminology at Staffordshire University. Luke’s main interests include the rise of nationalism, deindustrialisation, labour markets, the shift from post-war capitalism to neoliberalism, consumerism and ultra-realist theory. Luke is a co-author of Lockdown: Social harm in the Covid-19 era (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021) and the e-book Researching the COVID-19 pandemic: A critical blueprint for the social sciences (Policy Press, 2021).


    "Left liberals have for some time continually painted a twisted, racist picture of working-class life and culture. Yet in this fascinating and true-to-life text based on ethnographic research, Dr Luke Telford, shows in real life this is not the case. By immersing himself in a forgotten northern community, he traces the words and feelings of the working class to the deindustrialisation of the area and loss of respectable, well-paid work coupled with the rise of inadequate and unrewarding jobs in the exploitative and degenerative commercial sector. This, he argues, sets the scene for the discontent and political anger. A magnificent text and must read for anyone wanting to learn about working class politics!"

    Dr Daniel Briggs, Professor in Criminology, Universidad Europea.

    "Luke Telford offers a fresh and engaging perspective on rising political dissatisfaction and nationalist sentiment. Drawing on rich empirical data and sophisticated social theory, this book thoroughly unpicks the thorny issue of English nationalism whilst cutting through populist discourse. Heartfelt and honest, this wonderfully written book gives voice to the frustrations of those left behind by capitalism, and is essential reading for anyone interested in navigating the turbulence of Brexit".

    Dr Justin Kotzé, Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Criminal Justice, Teesside University