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Martin Atherton

6 Communal deaf leisure in post-war Britain Evidence drawn from deaf newspapers shows that much of the social life of deaf people was communal in nature, it involved the presence of other deaf people and was centred on the deaf clubs. This continued a tradition of participation and choice in recreation activities that dated back to before the Second World War. However, these activities were not solely restricted to the physical premises of the deaf club nor to events that only involved other deaf people. Deaf club members’ activities were influenced by what was

in Deafness, community and culture in Britain
How the personal got political

This book demonstrates how the personal became political in post-war Britain, and argues that attention to gay activism can help us to rethink fundamentally the nature of post-war politics. While the Left were fighting among themselves and the reformists were struggling with the limits of law reform, gay men started organising for themselves, first individually within existing organisations and later rejecting formal political structures altogether. Gay activists intersected with Trotskyism, Stalinism, the New Left, feminism and youth movements. As the slogan of the Gay Liberation Front proclaimed, ‘Come out, come together and change the world’. Culture, performance and identity took over from economics and class struggle, as gay men worked to change the world through the politics of sexuality. Throughout the post-war years, the new cult of the teenager in the 1950s, CND and the counter-culture of the 1960s, gay liberation, feminism, the Punk movement and the miners' strike of 1984 all helped to build a politics of identity. When AIDS and Thatcherism impacted on gay men's lives in the 1980s, gay politics came into its own. There is an assumption among many of today's politicians that young people are apathetic and disengaged. This book argues that these politicians are looking in the wrong place. People now feel that they can impact the world through the way in which they live, shop, have sex and organise their private lives. The book shows that gay men and their politics have been central to this change in the post-war world.

Jonathan Rayner

TNWC02 16/11/06 11:27 AM Page 54 2 Post-war British naval films and the service comedy The war films of the 1950s together constitute the assented-to record of the emotions and moral judgments called upon to set in order those disorderly events. Absolutely true to the feelings of the 1950s, sufficiently true to the facts of 1939 to 1945, they now serve as an extraordinarily detailed as well as compact encyclopaedia of these facts and feelings.1 The treatment of World War II in British cinema persisted and even extended in the post-war period. The insistence

in The naval war film
Natasha Feiner

workers in post-war Britain were encouraged to stay on the job beyond their contracted working hours. Overwork, and the fatigue that this often entailed, were generally accepted where financial recompense was offered. There were, however, some instances where overwork was formally restricted. In the United Kingdon, regulations governing hours of work and rest stretch back to the nineteenth century. Many state regulations – including the 1844 and 1850 Factory Acts – had a social and moral imperative. They were intended to protect vulnerable groups from exploitation and

in Balancing the self
Prisoners of the past

This book examines the impact that nostalgia has had on the Labour Party’s political development since 1951. In contrast to existing studies that have emphasised the role played by modernity, it argues that nostalgia has defined Labour’s identity and determined the party’s trajectory over time. It outlines how Labour, at both an elite and a grassroots level, has been and remains heavily influenced by a nostalgic commitment to an era of heroic male industrial working-class struggle. This commitment has hindered policy discussion, determined the form that the modernisation process has taken and shaped internal conflict and cohesion. More broadly, Labour’s emotional attachment to the past has made it difficult for the party to adjust to the socioeconomic changes that have taken place in Britain. In short, nostalgia has frequently left the party out of touch with the modern world. In this way, this book offers an assessment of Labour’s failures to adapt to the changing nature and demands of post-war Britain.

Chronic disease and clinical bureaucracy in post-war Britain

Through a study of diabetes care in post-war Britain, this book is the first historical monograph to explore the emergence of managed medicine within the National Health Service. Much of the extant literature has cast the development of systems for structuring and reviewing clinical care as either a political imposition in pursuit of cost control or a professional reaction to state pressure. By contrast, Managing Diabetes, Managing Medicine argues that managerial medicine was a co-constructed venture between profession and state. Despite possessing diverse motives – and though clearly influenced by post-war Britain’s rapid political, technological, economic, and cultural changes – general practitioners (GPs), hospital specialists, national professional and patient bodies, a range of British government agencies, and influential international organisations were all integral to the creation of managerial systems in Britain. By focusing on changes within the management of a single disease at the forefront of broader developments, this book ties together innovations across varied sites at different scales of change, from the very local programmes of single towns to the debates of specialists and professional leaders in international fora. Drawing on a broad range of archival materials, published journals, and medical textbooks, as well as newspapers and oral histories, Managing Diabetes, Managing Medicine not only develops fresh insights into the history of managed healthcare, but also contributes to histories of the NHS, medical professionalism, and post-war government more broadly.

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Workplace activism, labour militancy and cultural change in Britain’s car factories, 1945–82

Car workers’ union activism has long held a strong grip on popular memories of the post-war period. Working in the quintessential industry of modernity, their labour militancy has been linked to narratives of economic decline and of rising working-class living standards.

Yet despite their centrality to understanding of this period, car workers’ capacity for collective action has often been taken for granted, with mobilisation attributed to uncomplicated economic motivations or the last gasps of a declining ‘traditional class consciousness’ and the effects of the post-war settlement.

This book looks at the changing forms of agency and subjectivity expressed by labour militancy, considering workplace activism in the motor industry as a specific historical creation of post-war Britain rather than a reflection of ‘tradition’. It traces the origins of shop-floor organisations, which first emerged in the 1950s, studying the processes by which workers built their union cultures and exploring the capacity of car workers to generate new solidarities and collective values in this period.

Focus then turns to the 1960s and 1970s and the social practices and cultural norms that resulted from this cultural assembling, looking to understand how worker activism shaped the agency of car workers in post-war Britain, influencing the forms that strike action took. Through a mixture of oral history interviews, letters, meeting minutes and periodicals, this book analyses the meanings workers attributed to industrial conflict, asking whether factory activism generated attitudes distinct from the dominant values of wider British society.

A lesbian history of post-war Britain 1945–71

This book examines the ways in which women were able to deploy ambiguous concepts such as the 'career woman' and the 'bachelor girl' to simultaneously indicate and mask a lesbian identity. Contemporary anxieties about female same-sex desire which attached to these figures offered the opportunity to deploy them as an indication of potential sexual deviance. But their very ambiguity simultaneously afforded a protection from censure which more explicit terms such as 'lesbian' did not. These cultural connections between 'deviant' and 'normative' models of sexual identity have become the focus of considerable attention by queer theorists and historians in recent years. Queer historians have sought to analyse the institutional practices and discourses which produce sexual knowledge, and the ways in which these organise social life. They have concentrated their research on the binary opposition of homosexuality and heterosexuality as the dominant epistemological framework of knowledge about sexuality. The book seeks to explore the connections between space and cultural practices in lesbian history and is therefore concerned with the material world of post-war Britain. Identities such as 'tomboy' were invested with specific meanings in particular spatial contexts. As a child in rural Essex in the early 1950s, Nina Jenkins could use the term 'tomboy' to explain and excuse her desire to climb trees and be part of a boys' street gang.

Britain’s meritocratic moment, 1937–1988

This books explores the non-fiction publishing of Penguin Books to offer a new account of Britain’s post-war politics. This account decentres some of the categories that scholars have commonly employed to understand this period. The three decades after 1944, it argues, constituted a ‘meritocratic moment’ in Britain’s intellectual politics. That is not to say that political elites sought to realise a meritocratic order. But the argument that status and rewards should be determined by observable merits was accommodated by key ideological formations and provided a starting point for much political thinking. The perceived crises of the 1970s led to the eclipse of this meritocratic moment. But to understand this development as a victory for Thatcherism is problematic. Indeed this ideology was not able to accommodate or account for many of the antagonisms that followed from the collapse of the post-war political order.

Britain, 1945–90

Catholic nuns and sisters in a secular age examines the changes in religious life for women religious in Britain from 1945 to 1990 identifying how community and individual lives were altered. This work is grounded in three core premises: women religious were influenced by and participated in the wider social movements of the long 1960s; women’s religious institutes were transnational entities and part of a larger global happening; and the struggles of renewal were linked to competing and contradictory ideas of collective, institutional identities. The work pivots on the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), but considers pre and post Vatican II social, cultural and religious events and social movements of the 1960s as influencers in these changes. It interrogates ‘lived experience’ by examining the day-to-day lives of women religious. Though rooted in the experiences of women religious in Britain, the book probes the relationships and interconnectivities between women religious within and across national divides as they move from institutions embedded in uniformity to the acceptance of cultural plurality. It also engages with the histories of the social movements of the long 1960s. For too long, religion has been relegated to its own silo, unlinked to the ‘radical sixties’ and depicted as ultimately obstructionist to its social movements. To contest this, female religious life is examined as a microcosm of change in the Catholic Church pointing to the ‘new thinking and freer lifestyles’ that allowed for the questioning of institutional cultures.