Precariousness, diminished resources, and stigma: Urban structural violence in a post-industrial colliery town

James Pattison

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


This thesis examines how structural violence operates in Shirebrook, Derbyshire UK. Shirebrook is a small post-industrial coal mining town and is typical of such communities in that it is isolated and relied on a single industry for the majority of male employment, and so has characteristics of both urban and rural locations. This thesis makes a contribution to knowledge by applying urban sociological analysis to a small post-industrial town of the type not typically the focus of urban sociological approaches. Research in post-industrial locations in the UK typically focus only on a narrowly defined white British working-class. This thesis broadens this focus and demonstrates that the conditions of associated with being ‘left behind’ are also experienced by migrants in Shirebrook. Drawing on Wacquant (2008), structural violence is conceptualised as consisting of labour precariousness, declining resources and heightened stigmatisation. These components guide the empirical chapters which draw on data collected from a 15-month multi-method ethnographic study. The thesis demonstrates that it is the young and migrants who are most vulnerable to labour precariousness and that poor-quality work and an ageing population draws migrant labour into Shirebrook. The state and journalistic fields are implicit in the production of territorial stigmatisation in Shirebrook, which intensifies division and competition over access to declining resources. Central to this is that the local authority, framed by a central government funding stream, constructs migration as a social problem in Shirebrook at the expense of broader structural explanations of inequality. Finally, this thesis demonstrates the need for policies that contend with structural inequalities and issues of social justice rather than locally targeted solutions.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Nottingham
Thesis sponsors
Award date15 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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