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Labor history and public history in australia: Allies or uneasy bedfellows?
journal contributionposted on 2009-12-01, 00:00 authored by Lucy TaksaLucy Taksa
This paper reflects on the ways in which public labor history and more populist forms of public history have intersected and/or diverged in Australia since the 1970s. By comparing various labor heritage programs and public history interpretation strategies at four redeveloped industrial heritage sites, it examines how both approaches have conceived and represented workers' history and the relationship between past and present, industrialization and deindustrialization. Drawing on the concepts of nostalgia and nostophobia, the paper suggests that in Australia, labor history/heritage and public history are fundamentally at odds as a result of different political and economic imperatives and the recognition given to workers' collective traditions. © 2009 International Labor and Working-Class History, Inc.