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Austerity Nostalgia

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Annalena Di Giovanni.

CCHG public lecture

Nostalgia for the 1940s – whether as Britain Standing Alone for the political right, or the ‘spirit of 1945’ for the left – has long been a feature of Britain’s cultural and political landscape. But since the 2008 financial crisis this has become an orgy of self-congratulatory imagery, exemplified in the bizarre cult of the unproduced, formerly obscure Keep Calm and Carry On poster. This talk will trace the emergence of this through the fashioning of self-advertisingly austere consumerism, the marketing of the welfare state’s products at the same time as their destruction, the attempted creation of a useable past by the left in the abortive but still influential ‘Blue Labour’ movement, and will ask whether any of this has had any effect on current political shifts, whether the revived Bennism in the Labour party or the baffling notion of a ‘red, white and blue Brexit’

This talk is part of the Cambridge Cultural and Historical Geography (CCHG) - Department of Geography series.

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