Professor Jim Phillips
- Professor of Economic and Social History (Economic & Social History)
I have been working at the University of Glasgow since 1995, after education at the Universities of Aberdeen (MA First Class Honours in History, 1986-90) and Edinburgh (History PhD, 1990-94).
I take pride in my role as an educator. Helping our students at Glasgow is my first priority. I hugely enjoy supporting the learning of undergraduates and post-graduates. At all times I encourage student participation and involvement. I emphasise the benefits of cooperative learning, where students work closely together.
I have recently entered my third decade of happy service as a member of the MA Social Sciences student advising team at the University. As one of the Senior Advisers I welcome new undergraduates to our community and support continuing students as they progress towards completing their degrees.
Research is an important feature of my role as educator and citizen. I explore the historical dimensions of one of the core problems in our contemporary world: how individuals and communities identify and pursue their economic security. My research shows that well-regulated paid employment and labour organisation are central to this objective.
The loss of manual employment in industrial sectors and the diminution of trade-union voice in workplaces has contributed to the erosion of economic security in many countries across the world. I have contributed to understanding of this vial global issue through my pioneering research on deindustrialisation in Scotland. This has explained popular understanding of changes in industry and employment through the critical application of a moral economy framework. Whether people understood their transition out of industrial employment as just or fair depended on the extent to which their security was protected, and their voices were heard, by policy-makers.
With Jim Tomlinson and Valerie Wright, I showed that deindustrialisation in Scotland was a long-running, phased and politicised process. It was managed carefully by policy-makers in the 1960s and 1970s, and recklessly in the 1980s and 1990s. Workers and communities affected by deindustrialisation understood their experiences in moral economy terms, seeking at times to protect security through collective action. The perceived injustices of deindustrialisation contributed significantly to the growth of support for Home Rule within the UK in from the 1960s to the 1990s and then for Independence in the 2000s. Our book, Deindustrialisation and the Moral Economy in Scotland since 1955, was published in 2021.
My 2019 book, Scottish Coal Miners in the Twentieth Century, analysed a key group of industrial workers and their struggles for workplace justice and economic security. The book used generational analysis to highlight changes over time and demonstrated how miners took a leading role in the campaign for Home Rule. The miners’ resistance to deindustrialisation reflected the importance of their moral-economy thinking. The great strike of 1984-85 was an unsuccessful attempt to prevent an unjust transition from taking place. My next book, Justice, Memory and the Miners’ Strike in Scotland, analyses this process. It relates the campaign in the 2020s for restorative justice in coal communities to the criminalisation and victimisation of striking miners in 1984-85.
My two earlier books examined the miners' strike of 1984-85 in Scotland, focusing on workplace and community factors, and the industrial and economic basis of devolution in Scotland. I am also the co-author, with Michael French, of a study of food regulation and safety in the UK from the 1870s to the 1930s, and the author of a book on labour organisation among British dock workers in the 1940s and 1950s.
Phillips, J. (2012) Collieries, Communities and the Miners' Strike in Scotland, 1984-85. Series: Critical labour movement studies. Manchester University Press: Manchester. ISBN 9780719096723
Phillips, J. (2008) The Industrial Politics of Devolution: Scotland in the 1960s and 1970s. Manchester University Press: Manchester. ISBN 9780719075339
Phillips, J. (2017) Economic direction and generational change in twentieth century Britain: the case of the Scottish coalfields. English Historical Review, 132(557), pp. 885-911. (doi: 10.1093/ehr/cex199)
Employment, Politics and Culture in Scotland, 1955-2015, Leverhulme Trust, RPG-2016-283, £215,596, for 36 months from 1 April 2017
I welcome the opportunity to work with students using a wide range of methodologies and theoretical approaches to the study of economic and social history. Students with interests in the following areas will find my supervision particularly helpful:
- Deindustrialisation and its social dimensions, particularly relating to employment
- Labour organisation and activity
- The politics and sociology of work and industrial relations
- Moral economy and fairness in employment
I have a track record of helping students to secure research funding, with four ESRC 1+3 funded students completing theses under my supervision. I have also helped students gain scholarships from the Carnegie Trust and the University of Glasgow’s College of Social Sciences. Under my supervision students have used a variety of methodologies and theoretical approaches, including oral history as well as study of documentary materials in government, business, trade union and local authority archives, and deploying both class and gender as analytical categories. Completed studies have included:
- Deindustrialisation in Lanarkshire, from the 1940s to the 1980s
- Class, Gender, Inequalities and Consumerism in Industrial Scotland, from the 1930s to the 1990s
- Industrial Relations at Bathgate’s Commercial Vehicle Factory in the 1960s and 1970s
- Work Culture and Industrial Relations at the Linwood Car Plant in the 1960s and 1970s
- Employee and Union Loyalties in British and American Retailing from the 1930s to the 1960s
Current PhD students include:
- Hawkton, Gavin
Media, Public Discourse and the Miners' Strike 1984-85
- McCrossan, Katharine
The Co-operative Movement in Scotland After 1945
- Economic & Social History 2A: Britain 1770-1914
- Economic & Social History 2B: Britain since 1914
- Researching Economic and Social History 1 and 2
- Work and Labour in Britain since 1940
- Dissertation supervision
- Contributions to core courses in MSc in the Globalised Economy
- Contributions to core courses in Int M Global Markets, Local Creativities, Erasmus Mundus International Masters
- Globalisation and Labour, taught within various School of Social and Political Sciences PGT programmes
- Member and Contributor, History and Policy
- Council member, Scottish Labour History Society
- Editor, Scottish Labour History
- Editorial Committee member, Historical Studies in Industrial Relations
Recent Conference and Seminar Papers
- Economic History Society, Queen’s University Belfast, April 2019
- European Social Science History Conference, Queen’s University Belfast, April 2018
- 'The End of Coal', University of Nottingham, June 2016
- Economic History Society, Robinson College, Cambridge, March 2016
- ‘Riots in Regions of Heavy Industry', University of Tübingen, November 2014
- Scottish Oral History Centre, Seminar, University of Strathclyde, November 2014
- Scottish Labour History Society, Research Seminar, University of Glasgow, September 2014
- Economic History Society, University of Warwick, March 2014