Thatcher’s Culture of Conformity: The Disintegration of Party/State Distinctions and the Weaponisation of the State in Response to the Miners’ Strike 1984/85.


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This research highlights the existence and examines the culture and practices of three secretive groups within the Thatcherite state which operated between 1984 and 1989. Primarily involved with the state’s responses to the miners’ strike, the groups were also involved in government initiatives concerning four other areas of the public sector. The new data is used to answer significant questions surrounding the Thatcherite state during the period. The research investigates existing ideological mores within the state and gauges the development of new cultural norms peculiar to the Thatcher era. New evidence, only recently made available to the public, is used to examine Thatcher’s personal relationship with members of the permanent state and measure the Prime Minister’s level of involvement in directing policy. The research uses the new data to add to existing debates in two key areas. Firstly, Stuart Hall’s theory of authoritarian populism is tested by examining the activities of the three secretive agencies in relation to Thatcherism’s ideological discrepancy concerning that ideology’s authoritarian and anti-statist strands. Secondly, the research attempts to unite two competing historiographical arguments. On the one hand, that the British state has always been authoritarian and conservative. On the other, that Thatcher and Thatcherism offered something different and more extreme than anything that went before.
Date of Award5 Feb 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Edge Hill University
SupervisorROGER SPALDING (Director of Studies) & Alyson Brown (Supervisor)

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