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Surviving Hillsborough

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posted on 2021-11-22, 10:28 authored by Sally DaySally Day

This thesis explores trajectories of survival in the long-term aftermath of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. Despite the vast amount of literature on Hillsborough, there is little knowledge regarding the subjective experiences of survival in the political climate of denial, collusion and cover-up. Therefore, this thesis identifies how ‘survivors’ have understood and experienced their ‘survival’ from a major disaster and the subsequent injustices, and in this context considers what is required to ‘survive’. Together with informal conversations with key informants, the researcher conducted nine qualitative semi-structured interviews with individuals who experienced the disaster in various capacities, in order to critically examine the factors that have assisted or inhibited individual attempts at survival. The findings determined that there are various pathways to survival however all are impacted by the wider official and collective response to ‘survivors’. The findings demonstrate that the official expectation is that ‘survivors’ can and will navigate their own personal survival but the lived experience of survival determines that, in reality, ‘survivors’ need a continuous multi-faceted institutional and social response. Contextual factors unique to continuing a life after ‘Hillsborough’ are discussed. The concluding argument interprets that ‘survival’ is a continual process, and responses towards ‘survivors’ can either support quality of life or cause re-victimisation.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Arts

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Social and Cultural Studies


Stanley, Elizabeth