Publication details [#67393]

Herat, Manel. 2020. Post-war letters to the Lord Mayor of Liverpool: Epistolary constructions of identity. International Journal of Language Studies 14 (2) : 19–42.
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The paper investigates how ex-servicemen, seamen and factory workers stranded or left destitute in Liverpool after the First World War construct their identity through letters written to the Lord Mayor’s Office and the Lord Mayor’s responses to the letters. This was a period when there was racial tension in Liverpool and competition for jobs was fierce. This led to white workers resenting the presence of these men in the community, ultimately leading to the race riots of 1919. Although these petitioners were British subjects fighting for their mother country, they were regarded as outsiders. Using Critical Discourse Analysis, the paper examines how these veterans negotiate identity through language. The findings show that three identities emerge: firstly, an identity that is strongly tied to their own nationality; secondly, an identity tied to military service or other work in service of Britain’s war effort; and finally, an identity as husbands and fathers who are trying hard to provide for their families and defined in relation to their families and dependents. It is also clear that while the petitioners were treated badly, this was not necessarily by the authorities but by other people in Liverpool.