12 Pages

Editor’s introduction

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book highlights the continued centrality of class, as defined largely in terms of economic position and experience, to workers’ political allegiances in contemporary Britain. It argues that the spatial dimensions of class formation have been unduly neglected in many accounts, including E. P. Thompson’s, and that geographical places are active constituents in rather than passive backdrops to the construction of social identities. The book deals with the ‘rational choice’ and ‘analytical’ Marxisms of the distinguished social and political theorist, Adam Przeworski. It aims to offer the detailed and challenging argument that trends in class relations and class conflict, and structured relations between the bourgeois state and the capitalist economy have mattered most in shaping political choices. The book discusses the manifold deficiencies of reductionist approaches to labour history, complete with their insensitivity to complexity and diversity.