Pente, Elizabeth and Ward, Paul (2018) How can historical knowledge help us to make sense of communities like Rotherham? In: Re-imagining contested communities Connecting Rotherham through research. Policy Press, Bristol, pp. 29-32. ISBN 978-1-4473-3029-5

We hope that the historical chapters in the book raise some questions for readers to consider. We suggest the notion of ‘organic intellectuals’ is used from Antonio Gramsci to think about how communities contain organic historians – people who are interested in the past as a tool to change the future. Gramsci was a socialist imprisoned in Fascist Italy in the 1930s. He suggested that ‘traditional intellectuals’ were the philosophers, artists and historians who perform a specific intellectual function which emphasises continuity in society to manufacture consent for existing social relations. We think that the co-production of research (and the development of new digital media) presents a challenge.

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