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Week 10: The Sociologists Talk Back!

**You can fill in the end-of-module feedback form here (or just search for the module on Moodle). Please provide feedback - it helps to develop the department's teaching and ensures future modules reflect and respond to student expectations!**

In this final week, we are going to attempt to draw the various threads of the module together. We shall do this in two ways:

1. Overview returning to some of the big questions from the module, and you might find it helpful to reflect before the seminar on the following:

  • What common themes do you see across the different types of sources and social-scientific approaches that we have studied on this module? Are there any major distinctions?
  • What can we, as historians, learn from studying the social sciences in twentieth-century Britain?
  • Whose voices are best preserved in sources emerging from the social sciences - and are there any problems with this?
  • What was 'social' and 'scientific' about the 'social sciences' in this period? And what was 'social' and 'problematic' about the 'social problems'?

There is no assigned reading for this, though you may find it helpful to read over your notes from across the module and briefly dip into any notes you took on the Sutcliffe-Braithwaite, Savage and Lawrence books. Is your reading of them the same now as at the beginning of the module? (This activity might also be very useful as you write your final assessment.)

    2. The sociologists talk back! reflecting on the (provocative) roundtable published last year by Twentieth Century British History, and the criticisms made by John Goldthorpe of historians' re-use of his Affluent Worker study.

    You can access these articles by searching on the Library catalogue or by following the hyperlink above and then selecting the blue 'Get access' button (this will send you to a Warwick log-in prompt). Articles with the orange 'padlock' logo are Open Access (OA) and you are able to download them without logging in.

    Please try to read EITHER

    • John Goldthorpe, 'Historians' use of archived material from sociological research: some observations with reference to the Affluent Worker study', Twentieth Century British History, 33:3 (2022), pp. 394-411


    • John Goldthorpe, 'Historians’ uses of archived material from sociological research: a response to the commentaries on my paper', Twentieth Century British History, 33:3 (2022), pp. 451-459

    and then at least ONE of these historians' responses

    • Lise Butler, 'The social scientific turn in modern British history', Twentieth Century British History, 33:3 (2022), pp. 445-450
    • Roslyn Dubler, 'The sociologist and the subject: two historiographies of post-war social science', Twentieth Century British History, 33:3 (2022), pp. 412-415
    • Jon Lawrence, 'On historians' re-use of social-science archives', Twentieth Century British History, 33:3 (2022), pp. 432-444
    • Mike Savage, 'History and sociology: a twenty-first century rapprochement?', Twentieth Century British History, 33:3 (2022), pp. 416-431

    Some questions to think about:

    • What are the criticisms that John Goldthorpe makes about how historians have re-used his research in particular, and sociological research from the mid-century in general?
    • Do you think that John Goldthorpe's criticisms are fair? Do you agree with them (and why)?
    • How have other historians responded to these?
    • Are they applicable to other social surveys and methods that we might have examined on the module?
    • What other politics might underlie these criticisms?

    Two panels from a cartoon placed one above the other. The top one features a square-designed man in a bow tie with a vandalised concrete building in the background. A person is jumping from the building with another watches with a clipboard. The speech bubble in the mouth of the bow-tied man reads 'A role that ought to be left to...'. The bottom panel features the same scene, with various pieces of debris and a brick falling on the bow-tied man's head as he finishes his sentence '...the social scientist!'

    Cartoon by 'Hellman', New Society, 6 October 1977, p. 32

    (The full version of this cartoon is visible on the module homepage.)