Victorian Labour History: Experience, Identity and the Politics of Representation

Synopsis

In Victorian Labour History , John Host addresses liberal, Marxist and post modernist historiography on Victorian working people to question the special status of historical knowledge.The central focus of this study is a debate about mid-Victorian social stability, a condition conventionally equated with popular acceptance of the prevailing social order. Host does not join the debate but takes it as his object of analysis, deconstructing the notion of stability and the analyses that purport to explain it.Host examines an extensive range of archival material to illustrate the ambiguity of the historical field, the rhetorical strategies through which the illusion of its unity is created, and the ultimately fictive quality of historical narrative.