Research cluster

Political Cultures, Class, and Citizenship

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We focus on the construction and representation of political ideas within institutions and throughout popular culture in various formats (the media, film, visual symbolism).

We also explore the impact of those ideas on the lived experience of individuals and social groups in different communities and states. We research citizenship as a historically contingent concept which defines the relationships that exist between individuals and states, and look at how ideas about citizenship can change over time and be used by states as tools of political exclusion or appropriated by citizens to justify political resistance. We are also interested in class formation, class conflict, and the ways in which class intersects with other key aspects of identity formation. Researchers in this cluster pay particular attention not just to the material circumstances and institutional frameworks that shape political experience and opportunity, but also to the languages and ideologies of politics and class.

Research strands

There are four major strands to our research within this cluster.

  • Manifestations of political power in early modern England, with particular emphasis on the application of digital mapping techniques to urban spaces and socio-economic power networks, especially in London.
  • Research into class history and the politics of consumption and the co-operative movement in 19th and 20th-century Britain.
  • Research into political culture, citizenship, policy-making and business in post-World War Two Britain.
  • Research into American political culture and foreign policy, with a special focus on ideas of empire in the late nineteenth century, foreign policy in the Vietnam era, and the American presidency.

Research supervision

Our expert staff are happy to supervise postgraduate research in all of these areas. Please contact them directly for more information about supervision, or explore our research degrees and what to expect from a degree in the Department of History. You can also find out how to apply for postgraduate research at Essex, or use research finder if you are interested in searching for further research opportunities at Essex.


History degrees

Are you looking to study a history degree at undergraduate, masters or PhD level? In the Department of History, we have a variety of courses to choose from which cover a broad range of subjects. These include; modern history, art history, criminology, economics, literature, human rights, international relations, politics, film, and culture and society.

A degree in history is essential in helping to shape our future. Explore our courses, or visit our subject area to find out more about the degrees and modules that Essex has to offer.


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Dr Alix Green Cluster Lead