Author: Laura Carter (Trinity Hall 2008)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Histories of Everyday Life is a study of the production and consumption of popular social history in mid-twentieth-century Britain. It traces how non-academic historians, many of them women, developed a new breed of social history after the First World War, identified as the ‘history of everyday life’. The ‘history of everyday life’ was a pedagogical construct based on the perceived educational needs of the new, mass democracy. It was popularized to ordinary people in educational settings, through books, in classrooms and museums, and on BBC radio. In the 1970s this popular social history declined, not because academics invented an alternative ‘new’ social history, but because bottom-up social change rendered the ‘history of everyday life’ untenable in the changing context of mass education. Histories of Everyday Life ultimately uses the subject of history to demonstrate how profoundly the advent of mass education shaped popular culture in Britain after 1918, arguing that the twentieth century was Britain’s educational century.