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Masculinities on ClydesideMen in Reserved Occupations During the Second World War$
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Alison Chand

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474409360

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474409360.001.0001

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Belonging to Glasgow and Clydeside: Retrieving Regional Subjectivities in Wartime

Belonging to Glasgow and Clydeside: Retrieving Regional Subjectivities in Wartime

(p.58) Chapter Three Belonging to Glasgow and Clydeside: Retrieving Regional Subjectivities in Wartime
Masculinities on Clydeside

Alison Chand

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter examines the extent to which civilian men working in Clydeside during the war possessed distinctive and unique regional subjectivities. The chapter considers issues such as national identity and feelings of solidarity with men working in reserved occupations in other British regions. The chapter primarily argues, however, that distinctive regional aspects to worker subjectivity in Glasgow and Clydeside are revealed in oral testimonies. Much evidence emerges of local pride in industries around the Clyde. While some of this can be linked to the specific contribution of the region to the British war effort, such pride can also be attributed to feelings of deep knowledge, understanding and awareness of the region as a distinct locality, based on the immediacy and proximity of everyday life in the area to the subjectivities of reserved men. Indeed, the majority of oral testimonies reflect the notion that men in reserved occupations in wartime were often indifferent to the idea of ‘imagined’ British nationality, adhering more to local regional subjectivities. The attitudes of women towards male civilian workers, and consequently the subjectivities of reserved workers themselves, were firmly rooted in the immediacy of the distinctive industrial and working class environment of Clydeside. However, such local subjectivity often had a narrower focus than the city of Glasgow or the entity of Clydeside and was restricted to the places and people best known and most familiar to men. Although different levels of collective, ‘imagined’ subjectivity existed during the Second World War and were highly significant, ‘lived’ and continuous local subjectivity was inevitably most relevant to the individual male civilian worker in wartime.

Keywords:   ‘Regional subjectivity’, ‘Nationality’, ‘Solidarity’, ‘Different attitudes’, ‘Collective identity’

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