Labour History Review

Letters to the Editors

Labour History Review (1979), 39, (1), 14–22.

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M. A. Shepherd, ‘The Origins and Incidence of the term "Labour Aristocracy" "The Bulletin of the Society for the Study of Labour History 37(Autumn 1978). See also E. J. Hobsbawm, ‘The Aristocracy of Labour Reconsidered’ Conference Papers of the Seventh International Congress of Economic History (August 1978) Edinburgh p457. Google Scholar

Dave Douglass, ‘Pit talk in County Durham’ in Raphael Samuel (ed.), Miners, Quarrymen and Saltworkers (History Workshop Series) Routledge & Kegan Paul (1977) p303, ‘The miner's politics and culture are one phenomenon, not separate things’. Miners, Quarrymen and Saltworkers 303 Google Scholar

Ferdinand Saussure, Course in General Linguistics Picador (1973) pp9, 13-13, for this fundamental distinction. Course in General Linguistics 9 Google Scholar

Shepherd, loc. cit. p61. According to Shepherd this century's unemployment ‘derived more often from economic depression than from technical change’. Google Scholar

ibid. p52-3. Google Scholar

Asa Briggs, "The Language of "Class" in Early Nineteenth-Century England' in Asa Briggs and John Saville (ed.), Essays in Labour History Macmillan (1967) p68, Raymond Williams, Culture and Society 1780-1950 Penguin (1965) p13-23. Essays in Labour History 68 Google Scholar

Edward Rose, ‘The English Record of a Natural Sociology’ American Sociological Review XXV (1960) p197. ‘The English Record of a Natural Sociology’ American Sociological Review XXV 197 Google Scholar

Shepherd, loc. cit. p.52. Google Scholar

ibid. p55. Google Scholar

ibid. The term ‘working classes’ is also confusing here. Google Scholar

ibid. Google Scholar

ibid. p58. Google Scholar

ibid. p60, where the persistent references to ‘England’ suggest that the Celtic fringe of industrialism were hardly affected by this invasion, and these experiences. Google Scholar

ibid. Shepherd comments, for example, that the occupational hierarchy was ‘unmeasurable, only to be located by linguistic usage…but we remain hopeful that, however imperfectly, representations ‘of pyramid of working class occupations depended on the real development of occupational distribution, itself imperfectly recorded… etc.’ Google Scholar

ibid. p51. Google Scholar

Virginia Berridge, ‘Popular Sunday papers and mid-Victorian society’ in George Boyce, et. al. (ed.), Newspaper history: from the 17th century to the present day Constable (1978) p249. Newspaper history: from the 17th century to the present day 249 Google Scholar

Sheherd, loc. cit. p53. Google Scholar

Raymond Williams, ‘The press and popular culture: an historical perspective’ in Boyce, et. al., op. cit. p47-9 Google Scholar

Harold Rosen, Language and Class… (History Workshop Pamphlets) Falling Wall Press (1972) p6-7; Gareth Stedman Jones, ‘Working-Class Culture and Working-Class Politics in London, 1870-1900: Notes on the Remaking of a Working Class’ Journal of Social History Vol. 7 No. 4 (1974) p463-64; ‘The working class lacked "civilization" because it was hidden away and removed from it The imagery of this language and the situation which it represented was itself a novel product of the Victorian period.’ Language and Class 6 7 Google Scholar

H. F, Moorhouse, ‘The Marxist Theory of the Labour Aristocracy’ Social History III No. 1 (1978); Alastair Reid, ‘Economics and Politics in the Formation of the Working Class.’ Social History III No. 3 (1978); Hobsbawm, loc. cit. (1978). ‘The Marxist Theory of the Labour Aristocracy’ Social History III Google Scholar

Shepherd, loc. cit. p52. Google Scholar

Richard H. Brown, A Poetic for Sociology: Towards a logic of discovery for the human sciences C.U.P. (1977) p81. A Poetic for Sociology: Towards a logic of discovery for the human sciences 81 Google Scholar

ibid. p78. Google Scholar

ibid. p82. Google Scholar

ibid. p78, ‘a model may be thought of as a metaphor whose implications have been spelled out’; E. P. Thompson, ‘The Peculiarities of the English’ Socialist Register (1965) p349, ‘A model is a metaphor of historical process’. Google Scholar

Shepherd, loc. cit. p62. Google Scholar

Rose, loc. cit. p. 196; M. Bruyn, ‘The Rhetoric of Sociology’ in The Human Perspective in Sociology Prentice Hall (1966) New Jersey P125-7. Google Scholar

E. P. Thompson, ‘Patrician Society, Plebian Culture’ Journal of Social History Vol. 7 No. 4 (1974) p389-96. ‘Patrician Society, Plebian Culture’ Journal of Social History 7 389 96 Google Scholar

V. N. Volishinov, (Trans. Ladislav Matejka & IR. Titunik) Marxism and the Philosophy of Language Seminar Press (1973) New York p83-4, for critique of romantics; Brown, op. cit. p.79, for origins of historical-imaginatist school. E. P. Thompson could perhaps be added. Marxism and the Philosophy of Language 83 4 Google Scholar

David J. V. Jones, ‘Crime, Protest and Community in 19th Century Wales’ Llafur Vol. 1 No. 3 (May 1974) p8-10. ‘Crime, Protest and Community in 19th Century Wales’ Llafur 1 8 10 Google Scholar

D. J. V. Jones, ‘"A Dead Loss to the Community" The Criminal Vagrant in mid-Nineteenth-Century Wales’ Welsh Historical Review Vol. 8 No. 3 (1977), for examples. ‘"A Dead Loss to the Community" The Criminal Vagrant in mid-Nineteenth-Century Wales’ Welsh Historical Review 8 Google Scholar

Karl Marx, Capital Vol. I (Moore-Aveling ed.) Glaisher (1912) p269; article for New York Daily Tribune 21.8.1852 in T. B. Bottomore and Max Rubel, Karl Marx: Selected Writings… Pelican (1974). Google Scholar

Derek Fraser, ‘Voluntaryism and West Riding Politics in the Mid-Nineteenth Century’ Northern History XIII (1977) p 199; W. D. Rubinstein, ‘Wealth, Elites and Class Structure in Modern Britain’ Past and Present No. 76 (1977) p113. ‘Voluntaryism and West Riding Politics in the Mid-Nineteenth Century’ Northern History XIII 199 Google Scholar

D. C. Coleman, ‘Gentlemen and Players’ Economic History Review XXVI No. 1 (1973) pl03-4; S. G. Checkland, ‘Cultural Factors and British Business Men, 1815-1914’ in K. Nakagawa (ed.), Social Order and the Entrepreneur University of Tokyo Press (1977) p72. ‘Gentlemen and Players’ Economic History Review XXVI 103 4 Google Scholar

Howard Evans. Our Old Nobility "Morning Leader" Pub. (1909) p2-3; Hobsbawm, loc. cit. p459. Google Scholar

Williams, op. cit. (1965) p15-16,60. Google Scholar

ibid.;E. P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class Pelican (1968) p265; Hobsbawm, loc. cit. p458. Google Scholar

Samuel, op. cit. pxii; Thompson, ibid. p289-90. Google Scholar

Richard N. Price, "The Other Face of Respectability: Violence in the Manchester Brickmaking Trade 1859-1870' Past and Present No. 66(1975) p130-32. The Other Face of Respectability: Violence in the Manchester Brickmaking Trade 1859-1870’ Past and Present 130 32 Google Scholar

Shepherd, loc. cit. p56; Cf. Annual Reports of the Glasgow Savings Report of A.G.M. for 1907 (24.12.1907) p5. Professor George Adam Smith told his audience: "After all, whatever kind of economy may be considered best for a community to be governed by, it is upon the individual moral habits that the welfare of the city and the nation must depend." Google Scholar

Geoffrey Crossick, ‘The Labour Aristocracy and its Values…’ Victorian Studies 19 (1976) p314-24; Richard Price, ‘The Workingmen's Club Movement’ Victorian Studies 15 (1971); John Morley, The Life of William Ewart Gladstone Edward Lloyd (1908) Vol. I p617. Letter to Duchess of Sutherland 14.1.1864. ‘The Labour Aristocracy and its Values…’ Victorian Studies 19 314 24 Google Scholar

Shepherd, loc. cit. p62. Google Scholar

ibid. Google Scholar

Volishinov, op. cit. p89. Google Scholar

Annual Reports of the Glasgow Savings Bank Report of A.G.M. for 1909 (22.12.1909) p4. Lord Provost Shaw told the attenders: ‘…the Savings Bank…exisited primarily for the benefit of the respectable working classes - that class upon which the stability and permanence of the body politic largely depended…who were desirous…of maintaining themselves and their families in respectability and independence.’ Google Scholar

Stedman Jones, loc. cit. p466. loc. cit. 466 Google Scholar

Peter Bailey, ‘"Will the Real Bill Banks Please Stand Up?" Towards a Role Analysis of Mid-Victorian Working-Class Respectability’ Journal of Social History Vol. 12 No.3 (1979) p337-38. ‘"Will the Real Bill Banks Please Stand Up?" Towards a Role Analysis of Mid-Victorian Working-Class Respectability’ Journal of Social History 12 337 38 Google Scholar

Stedman Jones, loc. cit. p466-67. loc. cit. 466 67 Google Scholar

Bailey, loc. cit. p343. Google Scholar

Price, loc. cit. (1975) p110-11. Google Scholar

The Bulletin 29.9.1915. Google Scholar

Voice of Labour 18.1.1907: ‘In the ugly, mean, and squalid districts of the Metropolis and the large provincial towns…Overworked and out-of-work - the aristocracy of Labour - swells upon a pound or thirty shillings per week - the fringe of Labour., are living from hand to mouth.’; Robert Tressell, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists Panther (1965) p334, for pressures of artisans during unemployment. Google Scholar

Shepherd, loc. cit. p56. Google Scholar

Q. Hoare and G. Nowell Smith (Trans, ed.), The Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci p12: ‘The relationship between the intellectuals and the world of production is not as direct as it is with the fundamental social groups but it, in varying degrees,mediated’ by the whole fabricofsociety…’; Lynne Lawner (Trans. ed.), Antonio Gramsci: Letter from Prison Jonathan Cape (1975) p203-5, Letter 7.9.1931. Google Scholar

Volishinov, op. cit. p91: ‘The established ideological systems of social ethics, science, art, and religion are crystallizations of behavioral ideology, and these crystallizations, in turn, exert a powerful influence back upon behavioral ideology, normally setting its tone. Google Scholar

Robert Gray, ‘Bourgeois Hegemony in Victorian Britain’ in Jon Bloomfield (ed.) Papers in Class, Hegemony and Party Lawrence & Wishart (1977) p78; Howard Newby, et. al., Property, Paternalism and Power Hutchinson (1978) p284. Papers in Class, Hegemony and Party 78 Google Scholar

Martin Bulmer (ed.), Working-Class Images of Society SSRC/RKP (1975) p5; Volishinov, op. cit. p65-7. Working-Class Images of Society 5 Google Scholar

John Foster, Class Struggle and the Industrial Revolution Methuen (1974) p212-13; see also, Jim Cousins and Richard Brown, ‘Patterns of Paradox: Shipbuilding Workers’ Images of Society' in Bulmer (ed.), op. cit. p65. Class Struggle and the Industrial Revolution 212 13 Google Scholar

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Shepherd, loc. cit. p62. Google Scholar

ibid. Google Scholar

Moorhouse, loc. cit.; Robert Gray, ‘Politics, Ideology and Class Struggle under Early Industrial Capitalism: A Critique of John Foster’ Marxism Today (Dec. 1977). Google Scholar

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Shepherd, loc. cit. p56. Shepherd adds, in terms likely to ‘blur’ the sense, ‘"Aristocracy" became tolerable as the word "respectability" became worn with over-use, and not before.’ Google Scholar

ibid. p62. Google Scholar

ibid. p61-2, and passim. Google Scholar

E. P. Thompson, The Poverty of Theory Merlin(1978)p206, etc.; Robbie Gray, ‘E. P. Thompson, History and Communist Politics’ Politics' Marxism Today (June 1979) p183-4. The Poverty of Theory 206 Google Scholar

Thompson, loc. cit. (1974) p398-99, and passim; and ‘The Crime of Anonymity’ in Douglas Hay, et. al. (ed.), Albion's Fatal Tree Allen Lane (1975). Google Scholar

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Volishinov, op. cit. p95; ‘Any utterance, no matter how weighty and complete in and of itself, is only a moment in the process of verbal communication…Language acquires life and historically evolves here, in concrete verbal communications…’. Google Scholar

ibid. p68. Google Scholar

Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, The German Ideology Lawrence & Wishart (1970) p67: ‘Whilst in ordinary life every shopkeeper is very well able to distinguish between what somebody professes to be and what really is, our [idealist] historians have not yet won even this trivial insight. They take every epoch at its word and believe that everything it says and imagines about itself to be true.’; Dorothy Smith, ‘Theorizing as Ideology’ in Turner, op. cit. p41-2. The German Ideology 67 Google Scholar

Volishinov, op. ct. p61-5, and p83-4 for criticism. Google Scholar

Shepherd, loc. cit. p62. Google Scholar

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Thompson, op. cit. (1978). Google Scholar

W. G. Runciman, ‘What is Structuralism?’ British Journal of Sociology Vol. 20 (1969) p255: ‘Every historical explanation has implicit reference to structure; every structural explanation has implicit reference to origin and function’; Gray, loc. cit. (1979) P184-5. ‘What is Structuralism?’ British Journal of Sociology 20 255 Google Scholar

Volishinov, op. cit. p94-5. Google Scholar

ibid. p90. Google Scholar

Stedman Jones, loc. cit. p499, for changing images of the state. loc. cit. 499 Google Scholar

Shepherd, loc. cit. p62. Google Scholar

W. R. Greg, Mistaken Aims and Attainable Ideals of the Artizan Class Trubner (1876) p256, for welcome of term ‘Proletariat’ and p262 for a bitter attack on Marx and International! Mistaken Aims and Attainable Ideals of the Artizan Class 256 Google Scholar

M. A. Shepherd, ‘Lunacy and Labour’ Bulletin of the Society for the Study of Labour History No. 34 (Spring 1977) p64-8. ‘Lunacy and Labour’ Bulletin of the Society for the Study of Labour History 64 8 Google Scholar

Shepherd, loc. cit. (1978) p62. The writer argues that to find conclusive evidence that the ‘private and moral dimension outweighed the public and politico-social in the auto-stereotyping of skilled artisans’, we need look no further than the reports of friendly and co-operative institutions. Cf. Price, loc. cit. (1973), etc. It might also be noted here that there was little usage of the term ‘labour aristocracy’ in the U.S.A., where there was no landed aristocracy - but only Daniel De Leon's ‘Labor Lieutenants of Capital’, the trade union leaders. Thus, one can argue that this material circumstance was much more important than individual morals or values in the rise of the term ‘labour aristocracy’. Google Scholar

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