When A. J. P. Taylor undertook the final volume of the old Oxford History of England, it was ‘England’, not ‘History’, which he found the problematic part of his brief.(1) The volume under review is the latest contribution to the New Oxford History of England, and how things have changed since Taylor’s day.
For historians of Britain, the Second World War has long occupied a privileged place in narratives of change and continuity in the 20th century. Until fairly recently, the 1940s stood as a transformative decade in the literature, a moment when the unique pressures of total war recast politics and social relations in a more egalitarian mould. The British people, as J. B.
Introduction: trauma, modernity, and the First World War
In this book, Frank Mort, who holds a Chair in Cultural Histories at the University of Manchester, continues the work begun in Cultures of Consumption: Commerce, Masculinities and Social Space in Late Twentieth-Century Britain and in Dangerous Sexualities: Medico-Moral Politics in England since 1830.(1) This volume presents a cultural history of Londo
The formation of Mass Observation (1), conceived as a programme for the scientific study of human social behaviour in Britain or, in other words, as an ‘anthropology of ourselves’, was publicly announced in a letter printed in the New Statesman of 30 January 1937 and signed by Tom Harrisson (1911–76), Humphrey Jennings (1907–50) and Charles Madge (1912–96).
In 1886 the Glasgow Prayer Union (GPU) remembered in their customary prayers a woman across whom one of its ‘ladies’ had come. She had been ‘found lying very drunk near Cattle Market with young infant’. Concerned for the infant’s life, the unnamed philanthropist (not a word Smitley uses) takes the child to the nearby police station, ‘where the woman was also taken’ (p. 44).
With edits by the editors Chris Cotton, Peter White and Stephen Brooks.
There is an argument for saying that there have been two particularly welcome developments in recent works of broadcasting history. The first of these is an increased attention to the role of radio and television in the creation and reproduction of national identity.
‘Structure’ is still an unfashionable word in history. Since the late 1980s, ‘post-structuralism’ (or, more commonly, its elastic cousin postmodernism) has seemed to dominate much historical writing and methodology. The ‘linguistic turn’ has sharpened historians’ attention to the power of language.
A recent edition of Society Now, the magazine of the Economic and Social Research Council, makes a compelling case for the substantial contribution of the social sciences towards ‘a healthy society, a productive economy and a sustainable world’.(1) Professor Mike Savage’s latest work plots the changing path of the social sciences through Britain’s post-war soc