Clare Griffiths
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The politics of neighbourliness
Social democracy on the home front in Britain during the Second World War
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In the post-war period, neighbourliness seemed in some ways to become embedded in ideas of reconstruction and approaches towards aspects of social policy. In any consideration of the history of social democracy in Britain, the immediate aftermath of the Second World War seems to mark a key point in the national political culture. If social historians have sometimes been lured into mistaking the home front for a utopia of cooperation and community spirit, that is partly because such sentiments were being so actively propagated as part of the war effort. When neighbourliness was cited in wartime, it was usually freighted with notions about how it expressed inherent qualities in the British character and contributed to the public good. Neighbourliness in the post-war period has retained its prominence as a desirable feature of British society, albeit somewhat overwhelmed since the 1990s by evocations of 'community'.

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