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Discovering ‘Thatcher’s children’: Labour’s youth problem in 1980s Britain

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Original languageEnglish
DatePublished - 13 Jun 2018
EventSocial History Society Annual Conference -
Duration: 13 Jun 2018 → …


ConferenceSocial History Society Annual Conference
Period13/06/18 → …


This paper examines how Labour discovered its ‘youth problem’ in order to shed new light on shifting perceptions of social categories and electoral strategy. Firstly, we demonstrate how new research techniques produced new visions of social categories like ‘youth’. Whereas previous studies had focussed on young people’s policy preferences, in the 1980s Labour increasingly explored the links between the underlying worldviews and psychologies of the under-25s and their voting habits. The result was that Labour imagined itself facing a complex young voter who voted Conservative not simply because they benefitted from particular policies, but because they shared Thatcherism’s ideals of individualism, risk-taking and entrepreneurialism.


Social History Society Annual Conference

Duration13 Jun 2018 → …
Degree of recognitionInternational event

Event: Conference


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