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Seminar 7

Seminar 7: Decline of National Values?

  1. What do we mean by the terms 'consumer society' and 'mass consumption' and how were these phenomenon perceived in post-war Britain?
  2. To what extent did images of youth change after the Second World War, and what can we learn from the use of terms such as 'youth culture' and 'the teenager'?
  3. How liberating was the 'sexual liberation' of the 1960s, and to what extent did male and female roles alter within relationships and marriage? 


Seminar Reading

Claire Langhammer, ‘The Meanings of Home in Post-War Britain’, Journal of Contemporary History, 40 (2005), 341-62

For consumer society:

Lawrence Black, ‘Whose Finger on the Button? British Television and the Politics of Cultural Control’, Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television, 25 (2005), 547-75

M. Hilton, 'The Fable of the Sheep, or Private Virtues, Public Vices: The Consumer Revolution of the Twentieth Century,' Past and Present (2002)

For youth culture:

Bill Osgerby, 'From the Roaring Twenties to the Swinging Sixties: Continuity and Change in British Youth Culture', in B. Brivati and H. Jones (eds.), What difference did the War make? (1995)

Nick Thomas, ‘Challenging the Myths of the 1960s: The Case of Student Protest in Britain’, 20th Century British History, 13 (2002), 277-97

For sexual Liberation:

Jane Lewis, 'The Permissive Moment' in J. Lewis, Women in Britain since 1945: Women, Family, work and the State in the Post-War Years (1992)

M. Collins, 'The Pornography of Permissiveness: Men's Sexuality and Women's Emancipation in Mid-Twentieth Century Britain,' HW (1999)

And for a historical overview of the period, see Peter Clarke, Hope and Glory, pp. 248-318


Further Reading

S. Bowden and A. Offer, 'Household Appliances and the Use of Time: The United States and Britain since the 1920s,' EcHR (1994) and debate with B. Fine in same journal (1999)

R. Oldenziel ed., Cold War Kitchen: Americanization, Technology, and European Users (2009)

John Benson, The Rise of Consumer Society in Britain, 1880-1980 (1984)


Lawrence Black & Hugh Pemberton (eds.), An Affluent Society: Britain’s Post-War Golden Age Revisited (2004)

C. Brown, The Death of Christian Britain: Understanding Secularisation, 1800-2000 (2001)

Marcus Collins, ‘The Pornography of Permissiveness: Men’s Sexuality and Women’s Emancipation in Mid-20th Century Britain’, History Workshop Journal, 47 (1999), 99-120

Marcus Collins, Modern Love: An Intimate History of Men and Women in Twentieth-Century Britain

Becky Conekin, The Autobiography of a Nation: The 1951 Festival of Britain (2003)

Becky Conekin, Frank Mort & Chris Waters (eds.), Moments of Modernity: Reconstructing Britain, 1945-1964 (1999)

Kevin Davey, English Imaginaries (1999)

Grace Davie, Religion in Britain since 1945: Believing without belonging (19994)

Christie Davies, Permissive Britain: Social Change in the Sixties and Seventies (1975)

John Davis, ‘The London Drug Scene and the Making of Drug policy, 1965-1973’, 20th Century British History, 17 (2006), 26-49

Martin Francis, ‘Tears, Tantrums, and Bared Teeth: The Emotional Economy of Three Conservative Prime Ministers, 1951-1963’, Journal of British Studies, 41 (2002), 354-87

James Hampshire and Jan Lewis, ‘”The Ravages of Permissiveness”: Sex Education and the Permissive Society’, 20th Century British History, 15 (2004), 290-312

Adrian Hastings, A History of English Christianity, 1920-1985 (1986).

Liz Heron (ed.), Truth, Dare or Promise? Girls Growing up in the Fifties (1985)

Robert Hewison, Culture and Consensus: England, Art, and Politics since 1940 (1995)

Richard Hoggart, The Uses of Literacy (1957)

Martin Johnes & Gavin Millar, ‘The 1953 FA Cup Final: Modernity and Tradition in British Culture’, Contemporary British History, 20 (2006), 263-80

Claire Langhammer, ‘Adultery in Post-War Britain’, History Workshop Journal, 62 (2006), 86-115

Arthur Marwick, The Sixties (1998)

Bill Osgerby, Youth in Britain since 1945 (1997)

Raphael Samuel, ‘Mrs Thatcher’s Return to Victorian Values’, Proceedings of the British Academy, 78 (1992), 9-29

Eve Setch, ‘The Face of Metropolitan Feminism: The London Women’s Liberation Workshop, 1969-79’, 20th Century British History, 13 (2002), 171-90

Alan Sked, Britain’s Decline (1987), chapter 3.

Mathew Thomson, Psychological Subjects: Identity, Culture and Health in Twentieth-Century Britain (2006), chapter 8 ‘Towards the Permissive Society’

Jeffrey Weeks, Sex, Politics, and Society: The Regulation of Sexuality since 1800 (1989), especially chapter 13 ‘The Permissive Moment’

Richard Weight, Patriots, chapters 3-5

J. Wolfe, ‘Religion and Secularization’ (chapter 24), in P. Johnson (ed.), 20th Century Britain: Economic, Social, and Cultural Change (1994) & in 2nd ed (Carnevali and Strange eds.)