Oralhistory is often referred to as a methodology, not a theory. But since the 1980s oral historians have developed a number of interpretive approaches, drawing upon contemporary theories and concepts from a broad range of cognate subjects. These theories and concepts have coalesced into a widely shared understanding that remembering contains both objective and subjective evidence about the past, and that the analysis of oralhistory interviews requires a multifaceted approach. In this chapter we will briefly outline current understandings about the nature of
it existed in oral form. The confessor's reaction is unpromising, but subsequently Margery finds other clerics willing to listen to her. Having originally been silenced, the Book tells us that she had many opportunities to articulate her life-story, culminating in the narrations which were written down to form the Book . The Book can thus be identified as a form of oralhistory, and this chapter treats it as such, applying current methodologies of oralhistory to an analysis of its internal operations. This approach may seem incongruous, given that, ordinarily
Spatial and architectural memory
in oralhistories of working life
What happens if we invert the cliche ‘if walls could talk?’ and explore
what former factory workers might say about those walls? At first this
may sound absurd, but in a broad sense this chapter demonstrates this
very approach, for it is here that we turn our attention to the richness
of content contained within workers’ memories of the buildings in which
While the disciplines of oralhistory, design history and architectural history are all beginning to engage with
bishop’s tongue gave Hacket a way to claim priority over his competitors, none of
whom – not even Heylyn – had enjoyed such intimacy with a powerful person, let
alone one famous for unguarded speech. The result was an erudite, textual, but also
A final form of spoken discourse haunts Scrinia
Reserata . In the prefatory Life he composed for Hacket’s published
sermons, Thomas Plume noted that Hacket also loved
‘discourse’, and was himself full of ‘witty apophthegms and other
Memories of childrens cinema-going in London before the First World
Before 1906, there were no dedicated venues for the exhibition of film in London.
Five years later, cinemas had spread all over the city, and 200,000 people were
attending a film show in the city every day. Many in these first cinema audiences
were children. Significantly - indeed probably uniquely for the time - cinema was a
mass entertainment deliberated aimed at, and priced within the range of, the young.
Decades later, some of these children left memoirs (published or unpublished), or
were interviewed by oral historians. This body of evidence on the experience of
cinema-going before the First World War has been hitherto ignored by film historians.
This essay examines this testimony from London audience members, which is constructed
around the various stages of the act of going to the cinema. The testimony
demonstrates that the experience and the enjoyment of the social space that the
cinema provided were at least as important as the entertainment projected on the
screen. The early cinema demands greater recognition for its function as a social
sphere, and particularly as a welcoming place for children.
This book draws on original research into women’s workplace protest to deliver a new account of working-class women’s political identity and participation in post-war England. In doing so, the book contributes a fresh understanding of the relationship between feminism, workplace activism and trade unionism during the years 1968–85. The study covers a period that has been identified with the ‘zenith’ of trade union militancy. The women’s liberation movement (WLM) also emerged in this period, which produced a shift in public debates about gender roles and relations in the home and the workplace. Industrial disputes involving working-class women have been commonly understood as evidence of women’s growing participation in the labour movement, and as evidence of the influence of second-wave feminism on working-class women’s political consciousness. However, the voices and experiences of female workers who engaged in workplace protest remain largely unexplored. The book addresses this space through detailed analysis of four industrial disputes that were instigated by working-class women. It shows that labour force participation was often experienced or viewed as a claim to political citizenship in late modern England. A combination of oral history and written sources is used to illuminate how everyday experiences of gender and class antagonism shaped working-class women’s political identity and participation.
This book is an oral history of the punk scene in Belfast between 1977 and 1986. Interrogating the idea that punk was a non-sectarian subculture, it argues that the accounts of my interviewees suggest a more nuanced and complex relationship between the punk scene and Northern Irish society. Drawing on post-positivist oral history, the work of the Popular Memory Group and the cultural materialism of Raymond Williams, it considers how people’s memories of the punk scene have been shaped in the years since its zenith in the city and how they were shaped in the moment of the interview. Thinking of punk as a structure of feeling that is present in the oral history interview, the book suggests, is a way to draw out its relationship to structures of class, gender and sectarianism in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, and its continuing affective and political legacies in the present.
This book examines women’s experiences of motherhood in England in the years between 1945 and 2000. Based on a new body of 160 oral history interviews, the book offers the first comprehensive historical study of the experience of motherhood in the second half of the twentieth century. Motherhood is an area where a number of discourses and practices meet. The book therefore forms a thematic study looking at aspects of mothers’ lives such as education, health care, psychology, labour market trends and state intervention. Looking through the prism of motherhood provides a way of understanding the complex social changes that have taken place in the post-war world. This book will be essential reading for students and researchers in the field of twentieth-century British social history. However it will also be of interest to scholars in related fields and a general readership with an interest in British social history, and the history of family and community in modern Britain.
This book focuses on working class civilian men who as a result of working in reserved occupations were exempt from enlistment in the armed forces. It utilises fifty six newly conducted oral history interviews as well as autobiographies, visual sources and existing archived interviews to explore how they articulated their wartime experiences and how they positioned themselves in relation to the hegemonic discourse of military masculinity. It considers the range of masculine identities circulating amongst civilian male workers during the war and investigates the extent to which reserved workers draw upon these identities when recalling their wartime selves. It argues that the Second World War was capable of challenging civilian masculinities, positioning the civilian man below that of the ‘soldier hero’ while, simultaneously, reinforcing them by bolstering the capacity to provide and to earn high wages, both of which were key markers of masculinity.
On 25 July 1968, Pope Paul VI shook the world. His encyclical letter Humanae
Vitae rejected widespread calls to permit use of the contraceptive pill and
deemed artificial contraception ‘intrinsically evil’. The Catholic Church is now
commonly identified as the antagonist in a story of sixties sexual revolution –
a stubborn stone resisting the stream of sex-positive modernity. There has been
little consideration of how Catholic women themselves experienced this period of
cultural upheaval. This book is about the sexual and religious lives of Catholic
women in post-war England. It uses original oral history material to uncover the
way Catholic women negotiated spiritual and sexual demands at a moment when the
two increasingly seemed at odds with one another. The book also examines the
public pronouncements and secretive internal documents of the central Catholic
Church, offering a ground-breaking new explanation of the Pope’s decision to
prohibit the pill. The materials gathered here provide a fresh perspective on
the idea that ‘sex killed God’, reframing dominant approaches to the histories
of sex, religion and modernity. The memories of Catholic women help us
understand why religious belief does not structure the lives of most English men
and women today in the way it did at the close of the Second World War, why sex
holds a place of such significance in our modern culture, and crucially, how
these two developments related to one another. The book will be essential
reading for not only scholars of sexuality, religion, gender and oral history,
but anyone interested in post-war social change.