Coronavirus (Covid-19): Latest updates and information
Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Seminar 1

Seminar 1: Social Investigators and the Family The health and welfare of the family has been a constant subject of investigation from 1860 to the present. In this introductory seminar we will think about the different the different theoretical perspectives and approaches to the study of the family and familiarise ourselves with some of the key debates. Seminar/Essay Questions:

  1. In what ways did the nineteenth and twentieth-century social investigators add to knowledge of working-class families?
  2. What has the social survey contributed to the understanding of family life?
  3. Examine the portrayal of gender by social investigators.

Seminar Reading: S. Brooke, ‘Gender and Working Class Identity in Britain during the 1950s’ Journal of Social History 34 (2001) 773-95. M. Freeman, ‘The Provincial Social Survey in Edwardian Britain’ Historical Research 75 (2002) 73-89. R. McKibbin, ‘Class and Poverty in Edwardian England’ in R. McKibbin, The Ideologies of Class (1990) 167-196. R. O’Day, ‘Retrieved Riches - Charles Booth’s Life and Labour of the People in London’ History Today 39 (1989) 29-35. P. Summerfield, ‘Mass Observation. Social Research or Social Movement’ Journal of Contemporary History 20 (1985) 439-452.

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20040105070529/http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_compendia/SSD_Anniversary/SSD60AnniRD_v2.pdf

Additional Reading: P. Abrams, The Origins of British Sociology 1834–1914 (1968). P. Abrams, Practice and Progress. British Sociology 1950–1980 (1982). F. Bell, Lady, At the Works (1907). A. Briggs, Social Thought and Social Action. A Study of the Work of Seebohm Rowntree, 1871–1954 (1961). M. Bulmer, K. Bales, and K. Sklar (eds.), The Social Survey in Historical Perspective (1991). G. Dench, K. Gavron, & M. Young, The New East End: Kinship, Race and Conflict (2006). N. Denis, F. Henriques, and C. Slaughter, Coal is Our Life (1951). D. Englander and R. O’Day (eds), Retrieved Riches. Social Investigation in Britain 1840–1914 (1995).


A. Fried and R.M. Elman, Charles Booth’s London (1971). I. Gazeley, Poverty in Britain 1900–1965 (2003). J.H. Goldthorpe et al., The Affluent Worker in the Class Structure (1969). T. Harrisson, Mass Observation (1986). J. Lewis, Women and Social Action in Victorian and Edwardian England (1991). C.A. Linsley, and C.L. Linsley, ‘Booth, Rowntree and Llewelyn Smith: A Reassessment of Interwar Poverty’ Economic History Review 46 (1993) 88-104. R. McKibbin, The Ideologies of Class (1990). M. Pember Reeves, Round About a Pound a Week (1913). J. Platt, Social Research in Bethnal Green (1971). B.S. Rowntree, Poverty. A Study of Town Life (1901). B.S. Rowntree, Poverty and Progress. A Second Social Survey of York (1941). L. Thompson and A.J. Walker, ‘The Place of Feminism in Family Studies’ Journal of Marriage and the Family 57 (1995) 847-65. L. A. Tilly and M. Cohen, ‘Does the Family Have a History? A Review of Theory and Practice in Family History’ Social Science History 6 (1982) 131-79. S. Webb and B. Webb, Methods of Social Study (1932). P. Willmott and M. Young, Family and Class in a London Suburb (1960). M. Young and P. Willmott, Family and Kinship in East London (1957).