Between 1988 and 1993, a ‘Workers City Group’ contested the narrative of the ‘new’, post-industrial Glasgow promoted from the early 1980s by Glasgow District Council. Counter to the ‘opportunistic politicians’ and ‘entrepreneurial admen’ who had secured Glasgow’s designation as ‘European City of Culture’ (ECoC) for 1990, ‘Workers City’ claimed to represent the “authentic voice and identity” of “the working class city par excellence”. This presentation draws on extensive research into the political economy of Glasgow in the later 20th Century to re-evaluate this ‘culture war’. It shows how central government in Scotland (based in Edinburgh) saw Glasgow’s ‘intangible cultural heritage’ as an unfortunate legacy of a troubled history, impeding the economic and socio-cultural progress of central Scotland more widely. From the early 1960s, government had embarked on a sweeping, centrally co-ordinated plan to transform this situation, with many well-understood, deleterious impacts on the City. Indeed, in the later 1980s government placed a reservation on Glasgow’s designation as ECoC, on the basis that it might rekindle belief in the City of old. Neither side in the ECoC controversy seem adequately to have grasped all of this, even as central government was embarking on a much wider attempt to re-engineer the culture of Scotland as a whole – from ‘dependency’ to ‘enterprise’. Indeed, the internecine local struggle between the ‘boosterists’ and the ‘workerists’ can be seen as exemplifying a long-standing, central government strategy for managing the social and political consequences of the latter’s continuing policy agenda for the City.
|Publication status||Published - 14 May 2018|
|Event||UWS Conference on Intangible Cultural Heritage: (In)visible Stories: An Investigation into the Status of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Scotland - University of the West of Scotland, Ayr, United Kingdom|
Duration: 14 May 2018 → …
|Conference||UWS Conference on Intangible Cultural Heritage|
|Period||14/05/18 → …|
Collins, C., & Levitt, I. (2018). Glasgow’s ‘intangible cultural heritage': ‘Workers City’ and the European City of Culture. Paper presented at UWS Conference on Intangible Cultural Heritage, Ayr, United Kingdom.