John Beckett
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New approaches
The region and the community
in Writing local history
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This chapter focuses on new approaches such as religion and community in local history. Local history, in one form or another, is now one of the fastest growing and widest ranging pastimes in the UK. It engages professional historians and amateurs alike; it has entered several key stages in the national curriculum; it is taught in many university history degree courses; and it is discussed at local society meetings up and down the country every night of the week. The county retained residual significance for the cultural life of the local community, and no one questioned the significance of the parish and the town as study areas, even if the methodology, aims and intention changed, as the range and appreciation of the sources and methods developed. But what of the region? This question emerged in the context of the broader issue of how the UK had changed from a predominantly rural-agrarian to a largely urban-industrial society.

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