Phil Rawsthorne

Graduate Teaching Assistant & Doctoral Candidate in History

Department of English, History & Creative Writing

I joined Edge Hill in 2012, and have completed both a BA in History and an MA in History and Culture at the university.

My research takes the form of an investigation into the culture and practices of South Yorkshire Police (SYP) during the miners’ strike of 1984/85, with an emphasis on the so-called ‘Battle of Orgreave.’

The recent conclusions of the Hillsborough Inquest suggest that what had previously been assimilated into popular memory in regard to the strike ought now to be questioned, particularly in regard to policing. My research offers contribution into key areas such as politicized policing, the relationship between the police and the state, and wider questions surrounding what actually occurred during the strike. As well as establishing what happened, this research will investigate why SYP engaged in the practices that they did. To do this, the project will examine both inherent cultures evident amongst SYP officers and the relationship between senior officers and members of Margaret Thatcher’s group of ministers and advisors. A raft of recently-released archival data means that these issues can be examined as they have not been before. Through textual analysis of this new raft of empirical data, a new investigation can bring understanding to an incident that has long provoked unsubstantiated polemics from supporters of those from both sides of the picket-line.  The Hillsborough findings have proved the vital importance of a study into SYP culture and practices during the Thatcher years. Orgreave itself can be seen as a fundamental moment in the development of British policing, the culmination of wider contextual developments and a society polarized by ideological, political, economic and geographical divides. My research relates SYP culture and practices into key contextual concepts such as the neoliberalism and monetarism of the Thatcher government, the militancy and socialism of the National Union of Mineworkers and changes in policing in the run-up to the strike.

In addition to my research, I also teach both first year and second year seminars. I teach across a range of subjects, including 20th Century American Foreign Policy, 19th Century Europe and Violence in the Middle-East.

Research Interests:

  • The Miners’ Strike 1984/85
  • Britain’s Two Oil Majors, BP and Shell
  • Theories of the State & State-Police Relations
  • People’s History & Working-Class History
  • 20th Century British History
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