Introduction to crumbling cultures: Deindustrialization, class, and memory

Tim Strangleman, James Rhodes, Sherry Linkon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this introductory essay we review key themes in the scholarly literature on deindustrialization over the last twenty-five to thirty years. While the term deindustrialization has been in use since the early 1980s, more careful attention needs to be brought to bear on the cultural significance of industrial change over time, including on how individuals and communities reinterpret deindustrialization through the lens of memory. This essay highlights contributions that reflect multiple disciplines and approaches, including interdisciplinary work. We also argue that cultural representations such as photography, literature, the media, and personal narratives offer especially useful insights into the continuing significance of deindustrialization, giving us access to the ways people are drawing on and constructing their memories of industrial work and of the process of deindustrialization itself. This essay and the wider special issue suggest that taking a long view - from the perspective of more than two decades after major shutdowns - and examining documentary, personal, and creative representations provides important insights into the meanings and consequences of the experience of deindustrialization for individuals, communities, and nations. Copyright © 2013 International Labor and Working-Class History, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-22
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Labor and Working-Class History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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