Patrick Joyce (3)Welcome to this website. I am a  social historian who is also interested in the social sciences. I have an established reputation in the history of class and of power in modern Britain. I am a Honorary Professor of History at the University of Edinburgh, and an Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Manchester. Please please feel free to contact me by email at patrickjoyce2@gmail.com or patrick.joyce@manchester.ac.uk, especially if you wish to discuss the experience and history of peasants, my current interest.


Remaining an academic by religious conviction I have in recent years in some measure turned away from purely academic writing towards writing in forms that cross and combine genres. I aspire to write non-fiction literature. I am currently (Jan. 2020) working on a book called Remembering Peasants in which I consider how peasants in advanced western socieites are now being lost to memory after millenia of time as the dominant social group. This is a loss we all share. The writing invokes the Irish peasant past of my forberas but now sets this in the context of the end of the European peasantry, west and east, especially east where the remnants are today to be found. Why should we remember when all else seems to be about forgetting? And how are peasants now curated, for they have been transported from the field to the musuem? Remembering peasants is about the need to remember; what is valuable to remember as we now slide to planetary destuction; and how remembering is now done in European societies. The means of remembering I consider extendbeyond museums to words and images considered generically (in poetry, photography, painting, objects, oral testimony,and so on).


In recent writing I have combined history, memoir,  and photography in my new book called  Going to my Father’s House: A History of My Times. Published by Verso, Spring 2021. Parts of this have appeared in Field Day Review as “The Journey West”, in Field Day Review, 10, 2014 and “Time Thickens, Takes on Flesh: The Other West” in  Field Day Review 11, 2015. See on the right for a download of both essays.


Two interviews about my work as an historian, conducted by the Universities of Padua and Bologna Cultural History Centre, 2009, are available on video, “Patrick Joyce. The Politics of History and History of the Political” and “Cultural History and the Necessity of the Social”.



“For over thirty years Patrick Joyce has challenged orthodoxies in history and the social sciences. Through his engagements with cultural Marxism, the linguistic turn, Foucault’s work on governmentality, and material culture, his has been a consistently radical voice in the successive debates over the future and politics of social and cultural history since the later 1970s. While his research has ranged widely from the politics of class in Victorian England to the formation of the modern self, it has always shown a preoccupation with liberalism, modernity and the discipline of history. Although his work has concentrated on Britain, its influence has registered widely, not only in Britain and North America, but across much of the world.”

From the conference in honour of Patrick Joyce, Manchester, March 2008 (see the Festschrift, The Peculiarities of Liberal Modernity in Britain Book on the Publications page)

Photo credits: Top: Roger Mayne, Footballer Jumping, Sunny Brindley Road, Harrow Road 1957

Above: Josef Koudelka Ireland 1972:

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Praise for Going to My Father’s House:

“Style like this is a triumph and it does have a transformative effect…I feel Patrick Joyce is so gifted a writer that he enriches those topics that remain elusive while also being starkly present. This is a rare kind of writing. It is in effect a form of meditation on the societies that are forming and melting around us in the present. Only a voice such as this can alert us to these historical worlds.” The late Seamus Deane, eminent literary critic, poet and novelist.

“I can’t think of another historian around who could write something so suggestive and profound, so much on both a minor and major scale, constantly tracing the connections between the two. This is a memoir which is intellectually very sophisticated but also beautifully written and often very personal. I was entranced by its quality…It is an quite exceptional piece of work undertaken in wonderful prose and with seething anger – the best feature  of the many extraordinary features of the piece.” Paul Ginsborg, foremost British historian of Italy.

“Immensely readable, thoroughly enjoyable… Hegel would have enjoyed the way he lets a sharply delineated life distil a whole social history”. Terry Eagleton, eminent literary critic.

In this reverential, elegiac book, Patrick Joyce shows how his family history is also the story of our times. Weaving together his connections to the Irish diaspora, his working-class upbringing in pre-gentrification London, the contingent brutality of war, and Manchester’s post-industrial landscape, he lays bare the emotional force by which the past remains within and between us…This tale of loss and rememberance will resonate across generations.”, Mike Savage, author of Social Class in the Twenty-First Century.


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Update April 2018 IY e-Solutions