The era of mass communication
Working-class male leisure and ‘good’ citizenship between the wars
in Leisure, citizenship and working-class men in Britain, 1850–1945
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Mass commercial leisure came of age between the wars. A visit to at least one mass commercial leisure venue, be it a football match, music hall or cinema, had by 1939 become an important weekend ritual for many working men. Technical innovation, and with it the growth of more sophisticated propaganda techniques, marked the interwar period as the era of mass communication. This chapter investigates the expansion of commercial literature, cinema-going and finally radio broadcasting in order to establish whether working-class males really did embrace a more 'homogeneous', less class-specific culture. The impact of reading on leisure patterns between the wars has often been overlooked by historians, as it was essentially a home-based activity. Like reading and cinema-going, national broadcasts during the 1930s have been cited as helping to preserve a social cohesion that protected Britain from the social unrest manifest on the continent.


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