Document Actions

You are here: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2019/20 Dr. Jörg Arnold

Dr. Jörg Arnold

Source: private
The University of Nottingham, UK
External Senior Fellow
Marie S. Curie FCFP Fellow
September 2019 - February 2020/September 2020 (as affiliated ESF)

Room 02 013
Phone +49 (0) 761-203 97391
Fax +49 (0) 761-203 97451


I identify as a social and cultural historian of twentieth-century Europe with a strong interest in the models and approaches of neighbouring disciplines. I joined the University of Nottingham in 2013 after holding posts at Freiburg i.Br. and Edinburgh. I was educated at the Universities of Göttingen, Edinburgh, Southampton and Heidelberg. I completed my PhD in Modern German History at the University of Southampton in 2007.

My research focuses on how societies, communities and individuals deal with sudden rupture and loss. My first book, published by Cambridge University Press in 2011, examined the long-term impact of World War II bombing on German cities. More recently, my main interest has shifted towards the social and cultural history of de-industrialisation, with particular emphasis on the British coal miners’ struggle to preserve their jobs and identities in the face of far-reaching structural changes in the period of circa 1967 to 1997.

I am currently drafting my second monograph, under contract with Routledge Publishers. I have organised two international conferences on the ‘end of coal’ in Britain, which have led to a Special Issue in Contemporary British History, the founding of a Coal & Steelworkers’ Study Group and a number of peer-reviewed publications. I am also involved in a project that seeks to save the archival holdings of the National Union of Mineworkers, Britain’s most important trade union in the second half of the twentieth century.

Selected Publications

  • Arnold, Jörg. ‘Britain and the end of coal’, special issue, Contemporary British History 28/1 (2018), guest editor.
  • Arnold, Jörg. ‘Vom Verlierer zum Gewinner – und zurück. Der „coal miner“ als Schlüsselfigur der britischen Zeitgeschichte‘, in: Geschichte und Gesellschaft 42/2 (2016), pp. 266-297.
  • Arnold, Jörg. ‘The De-industrialising City: Urban, architectural and socio-cultural perspectives’, special issue, Urban History (in press), co-editor (with Tobias Becker and Otto Saumarez Smith). 
  • Arnold, Jörg. The Allied Air War and Urban Memory: The Legacy of Strategic Bombing in Germany (= Studies in the Social and Cultural History of Modern Warfare; 35) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, pb ed., 2016).     
  • Arnold, Jörg. Luftkrieg: Erinnerungen in Deutschland und Europa (Göttingen: Wallstein, 2009), co-editor (with Dietmar Süß and Malte Thießen).

FRIAS Research Project

From Loser to Winner – and back again: the British miner in the age of the de-industrial revolution, ca. 1967 to 1997

Throughout the twentieth century, the British coal miner mattered. As the coal industry went into decline in the de-industrial revolution of the late twentieth century, the miners frequently found themselves at the centre of public conflict and debate. The coal strikes of 1972, 1974 and 1984/85 were events of national significance, as were the lesser known confrontations of 1981 and 1992/93. As coal’s share of the energy market declined and employment in the industry contracted, the figure of the coal miner was invested with a plethora of highly charged and often conflicting meanings: Miners were imagined as traditional proletarians and affluent workers, as heroes and villains, as perpetrators and victims. Rather than try to establish who the miners ‘really’ were, the project asks about the overlaps, intersections and frictions between self-images and broader social imaginaries.

Drawing on the theoretical insights of R. Williams and R. Koselleck, the project develops two overarching arguments: First, it argues that the history of coal miners during the period is best understood in cyclical terms as a story of there and back again rather than as a story of decline. The second argument contends that there developed a crucial fault line between social imaginaries and the sense of self of (sections) of the workers employed in the coal industry as the period progressed. The project intervenes in the fields of labour history and de-industrialisation studies, but also in contemporary British history more generally.