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Traveller, Boxer and Fascist: The Identities of Joe Beckett

Traveller, Boxer and Fascist: The Identities of Joe Beckett
Traveller, Boxer and Fascist: The Identities of Joe Beckett
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, Joe Beckett carved his boxing career. Whilst there were many pugilists that represented Britain and Europe in the heavyweight championship title bouts during this era, Beckett’s identity was unique. Born into a travelling Showperson family and boxing in the fairground booths from a young age, he was discovered by his long term manager in his late teens and catapulted into professional fighting. However, Beckett’s remarkable Traveller and boxing career was not the only exceptional aspect of his life: his prominent involvement with the British Union of Fascists in the late 1930s ensured his detention under the British government’s Regulation 18b in 1940. Beckett’s life will be put into the wider context of British social, political and cultural history between 1850 to 1965. This study, of a traveller, his career as a professional boxer and British fascist is also explored through the concept of masculinity, adding further to the making and remaking of Beckett’s identity.

The thesis is divided into three main sections. First racial, ethnic and national identity; second, masculinity; and third fascism. Within these three sections themes including national identity, the representation of masculinity through professional boxing and the attraction of fascism are considered. By analysing sources in the private realm and imagery such as family photographs, media pictures, cigarette cards and postcards alongside state and public archives, the thesis highlights the importance of Beckett’s persona utilising historical, anthropological and sociological approaches. Within the chapters a largely chronological approach is adopted primarily due to the progression of life story. This study especially considers the concepts of
‘Britishness’ in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in relation to Beckett. Themes such as race, ‘whiteness’ and wider minority/majority relation are considered throughout, exploring also the relationship between patriotism and nationalism in the life and career of Joe Beckett.
University of Southampton
Lewis-Vidler, Jennifer Ruth
f717625a-3798-41d9-a8de-bdc76ed92f1c
Lewis-Vidler, Jennifer Ruth
f717625a-3798-41d9-a8de-bdc76ed92f1c
Kushner, Antony
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Tumblety, Joan
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Lewis-Vidler, Jennifer Ruth (2018) Traveller, Boxer and Fascist: The Identities of Joe Beckett. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 278pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, Joe Beckett carved his boxing career. Whilst there were many pugilists that represented Britain and Europe in the heavyweight championship title bouts during this era, Beckett’s identity was unique. Born into a travelling Showperson family and boxing in the fairground booths from a young age, he was discovered by his long term manager in his late teens and catapulted into professional fighting. However, Beckett’s remarkable Traveller and boxing career was not the only exceptional aspect of his life: his prominent involvement with the British Union of Fascists in the late 1930s ensured his detention under the British government’s Regulation 18b in 1940. Beckett’s life will be put into the wider context of British social, political and cultural history between 1850 to 1965. This study, of a traveller, his career as a professional boxer and British fascist is also explored through the concept of masculinity, adding further to the making and remaking of Beckett’s identity.

The thesis is divided into three main sections. First racial, ethnic and national identity; second, masculinity; and third fascism. Within these three sections themes including national identity, the representation of masculinity through professional boxing and the attraction of fascism are considered. By analysing sources in the private realm and imagery such as family photographs, media pictures, cigarette cards and postcards alongside state and public archives, the thesis highlights the importance of Beckett’s persona utilising historical, anthropological and sociological approaches. Within the chapters a largely chronological approach is adopted primarily due to the progression of life story. This study especially considers the concepts of
‘Britishness’ in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in relation to Beckett. Themes such as race, ‘whiteness’ and wider minority/majority relation are considered throughout, exploring also the relationship between patriotism and nationalism in the life and career of Joe Beckett.

Text
Jennifer Lewis-Vidler PhD Thesis - Version of Record
Available under License University of Southampton Thesis Licence.
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Published date: July 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 427317
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/427317
PURE UUID: b53ff66b-a7f6-4bb6-a118-25854f8383e3

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Date deposited: 11 Jan 2019 17:30
Last modified: 13 Mar 2019 17:50

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Contributors

Author: Jennifer Ruth Lewis-Vidler
Thesis advisor: Antony Kushner
Thesis advisor: Joan Tumblety

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