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|Title:||The Conservative Party and Perceptions of the Middle Classes, 1951-1974|
|Keywords:||British Conservative Party;British Politics;Post-Second World War Britain;Middle Classes;Class Identity;Politics of Class;Consumer;Consumer Politics|
|Abstract:||“The Conservative Party and Perceptions of the British Middle Classes, 1951 – 1974,” explores conceptions of middle-class voters at various levels of the party organization after the Second World War. Since Benjamin Disraeli, Conservatives have endeavoured to represent national rather than sectional interests and appeal widely to a growing electorate. Yet, the middle classes and their interests have also enjoyed a special position in the Conservative political imagination often because the group insists they receive special consideration. It proved especially difficult to juggle these priorities after 1951 when Conservatives encountered two colliding challenges: the middle classes growing at a rapid rate, failing to form a unified outlook or identity, and the limited appeal of consumer rhetoric and interests owing to the uneven experience of affluence and prosperity. Conservative ideas and policies failed to acknowledge and resonate with the changing nature of their core supporters and antiquated local party organization reinforced feelings of alienation from and mistrust of new members of the middle classes as well as affluent workers. This research shows that there was no clear-cut path between postwar Conservatism to Margaret Thatcher’s brand of Conservatism in which the individual, self-sufficient and acquisitive middle-class consumer became the champion. Moreover, the Conservative Party revealed, in these discussions, that it was much less ideologically certain than narratives have allowed previously.|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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