Identities and Social Change in Britain Since 1940: The Politics of Method

Identities and Social Change in Britain Since 1940: The Politics of Method

By: Mike Savage (author)Hardback

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Identities and Social Change in Britain since 1940 examines how, between 1940 and 1970 British society was marked by the imprint of the academic social sciences in profound ways which have an enduring legacy on how we see ourselves. It focuses on how interview methods and sample surveys eclipsed literature and the community study as a means of understanding ordinary life. The book shows that these methods were part of a wider remaking of British national identity in the aftermath of decolonisation in which measures of the rational, managed nation eclipsed literary and romantic ones. It also links the emergence of social science methods to the strengthening of technocratic and scientific identities amongst the educated middle classes, and to the rise in masculine authority which challenged feminine expertise. This book is the first to draw extensively on archived qualitative social science data from the 1930s to the 1960s, which it uses to offer a unique, personal and challenging account of post war social change in Britain. It also uses this data to conduct a new kind of historical sociology of the social sciences, one that emphasises the discontinuities in knowledge forms and which stresses how disciplines and institutions competed with each other for reputation. Its emphasis on how social scientific forms of knowing eclipsed those from the arts and humanities during this period offers a radical re-thinking of the role of expertise today which will provoke social scientists, scholars in the humanities, and the general reader alike.

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About Author

Mike Savage is Professor of Sociology at the University of Manchester, where he is Director of the ESRC's Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC). He has written extensively on social change in Britain after 1945 notably in Class Analysis and Social Transformation (2000) and in Globalisation and Belonging (with Gaynor Bagnall and Brian Longhurst, 2005)


Preface and acknowledgements ; Introduction ; 1. 2005 to 1938: Lifting social groups out of the landscape. ; ART I: TECHNICAL IDENTITIES AND SOCIAL CHANGE ; 2. 1938: The British intellectual and high-brow culture ; 3. 1954: The challenge of technical identity ; 4. 1950: The resurgence of gentlemanly expertise in post-war Britain. ; 5. 1962: The moment of sociology ; PART II: THE SOCIAL SCIENCE APPARATUS ; 6. 1956: The end of community: the quest for the English Middletown ; 7. 1951: The interview and the melodrama of social mobility ; 8. 1941: The sample survey and the modern rational nation ; PART III: TECHNIQUE AND EXPERTISE ; 9. 2009: The Politics of Method ; References ; Appendix: Details of Archival Sources consulted

Product Details

  • publication date: 13/05/2010
  • ISBN13: 9780199587650
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 320
  • ID: 9780199587650
  • weight: 606
  • ISBN10: 0199587655

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