Mass commodity culture and identity: the Morning Chronicle and Irish migrants in a nineteenth-century Welsh industrial town

Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-254
Number of pages18
JournalUrban History
Volume35
Issue number2
DOI
Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2008
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Abstract

The ‘Labour and the Poor’ investigations of the Morning Chronicle newspaper, which charted social conditions in towns outside London in 1849–51, subjected Irish migrants in Britain to a hostile journalistic gaze. In the case of the iron-manufacturing town of Merthyr Tydfil in south Wales, the minority Irish ethnic identity was defined by observers in terms of exclusion from an emerging mass commodity culture and in opposition to the native working class. This early investigative journalism deployed some conventions of the contemporary novel that were familiar to its mainly middle-class readership to root social identities in material conditions.