‘Flat-capping it’: Memory, nostalgia and value in retroactive male working-class identification

Loveday, Vik. 2014. ‘Flat-capping it’: Memory, nostalgia and value in retroactive male working-class identification. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 17(6), pp. 721-735. ISSN 1367-5494 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The article contends that working-class identities in Britain today are increasingly positioned as ‘valueless’. Emerging from empirical research with students and staff from working-class backgrounds based in higher education institutions, the article explores how some of the male participants in the project continue to identify in class-based terms. Arguing that a tendency to dwell on the past has opened up the possibility of a ‘valuable’ identification for these participants in the present, the article focuses on the critical dimensions of nostalgia and collective memory by exploring two particular kinds of ‘mnemonic imagination’ (Pickering and Keightley, 2013): ‘flat-capping it’ and ‘family folklore’. Far from being regressive, it is concluded that a recourse to the past in this particular context can be seen as a retroactive strategy, which enables the negotiation of gendered working-class subjectivities in the present, as well as providing a critical perspective on the future for those whose classed identities are so often rendered as ‘valueless’.

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The article is based on empirical research supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) (grant number ES/F022387/1).


Social class; gender; nostalgia; collective memory; value; identification; retroactivity

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4 August 2014Published

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Date Deposited:

24 Jun 2014 07:16

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:00

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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