An analysis of the book the making of the english working class by ep thompson

See for example N Geras, 'Althusser's Marxism: He refused to accept that artisans had become obsolete, or that their distress was a painful but necessary adjustment to the market economy. Stedman-Jones, G,Languages of Class: And this becomes an important theme in the consciousness of the working class that Thompson describes: The Making of the English Working Class is a good example of those books that sometimes penetrate through the history world and find a general readership.

In writing the book, Thompson took a huge step forward in creating the field of social history, and he established a paradigm of historical writing that guided a generation of historians. Historical analysis for Thompson is never simply about the past. The articulation of class may not be as robust as it was in the early 20th century, but anti-capitalist protests and campaigns defined broadly and anti-war movements have demonstrated a pervasive critique of the present order, and a set of dissenting values and agendas.

It has been on the defensive ever since. Rather it was the product of a response to the development of capitalism across different sections of workers already subject to capitalist relations of production. It is a sealed system in which concepts endlessly circulate, recognise and interrogate each other.

Thompson's critique of Althusser developed points which had been made by other writers.

The Making of the English Working Class, EP Thompson

The class consciousness that Thompson sees being created through the class struggle was not solely that of those in the most advanced industries, but included other groups of workers, such as the handloom weavers. This is too simplistic a reading of Thompson, however.

Webb said it was "both very important and extremely exasperating". The class consciousness that Thompson sees being created through the class struggle was not solely that of those in the most advanced industries, but included other groups of workers, such as the handloom weavers. Through a patient and extensive examination of local as well as national archives, Thompson had uncovered details about workshop customs and rituals, failed conspiracies, threatening letters, popular songs, and union club cards.

And Thompson did not shrink from giving it a name. The cleaners and call-centre operatives of today await their own EP Thompson, who can write about them with the same elegance and dedication. For behind this trade cycle there is a structure of social relations, fostering some sorts of expropriation rent, interest, and profit and outlawing others theft, feudal dueslegitimising some types of conflict competition, armed warfare and inhibiting others trades unionism, bread riots, popular political organisation Althusser's theoretical enterprise, he wrote: Instead of simply supporting the demand for cheap bread, the Chartists argued that the middle class, having won the vote for themselves, were morally obliged to support the continuing working-class struggle for full democracy.

However, the thoughts of the ruling class are ruling thoughts, and society in all its aspects only exists by continuing reproduction. The articulation of class may not be as robust as it was in the early 20th century, but anti-capitalist protests and campaigns defined broadly and anti-war movements have demonstrated a pervasive critique of the present order, and a set of dissenting values and agendas.

I mean to suggest nothing of the kind. The result was the first great political movement of the modern working class: This was overwhelmingly a positive thing. A decade later, his defence of 'actual history' against 'platonic Marxism' took the form of a no holds barred attack on the structuralist Marxism of Louis Althusser.

Note the irony in Thompson talking of a people being drugged when what characterises his historical writing is the insistence that the common people are never fully absorbed into the ideological universe of their rulers.

It is also a supreme example of the dialectical method in historical analysis. Of course, Thompson's scholarship was partial and driven by his politics. This is the story of neoliberalism, I think. He believed that the idea of a socio-economic base which conditions a cultural and ideological superstructure tended to encourage reifying thought 'wherein blind, non-human, material forces are endowed with volition--even consciousness--of their own'.

E P Thompson, 'Socialist Humanism: The working class as a historical agent could produce historical materialism and the dialectical method as a way of overcoming the stranglehold of bourgeois thinking over society.

But it is primarily the very young who constitute this giant, unruly mass. These are questions of the greatest importance. But Thompson, seasoned in the battles ofunderstood the political character of Althusser's project. E. P. Thompson believed that the English working class was in the making by the s, embedded by the s, central by the s and at the post-industrial crossroads by the s.

And because he was a Leavisite as much as he was a Marxist, he stitched his arguments, as far as he could, into the words of the people and their very English writers.

The Making of the English Working Class

Apr 30,  · EP Thompson – The Making of the English Working Class» Fully downloadable pdf version here. from the preface: More than this, the notion of class entails the notion of historical relationship. Like any other relationship, it is a fluency which evades analysis if we attempt to stop it dead at any given moment and anatomise its structure.

Fundamentally, Thompson's use of the word "making" in the title -- "The Making of the English Working Class" -- encapsulates his view that this process was one of self-definition and self-creation for this tradition of workers.

Thompson’s argument in The Making of the English Working Class remains vitally important. It not only describes a period of remarkable advance in the history of the working class.

The Making of the English Working Class Fifty Years On

It is also a supreme example of the dialectical method in historical analysis. The Making of the English Working Class is a work of English social history, written by E. P. Thompson, a 'New Left' historian. It was published in (revised ) by Victor Gollancz Ltd, and later republished by Pelican, becoming an early Open University set book.

Thompson wrote a doorstop of a book. The first copy of The Making of the English Working Class I read as an year-old is now in a sorry state. Pages are bent, attacked and coloured.

An analysis of the book the making of the english working class by ep thompson
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The Making of the English Working Class Fifty Years On – History Workshop