Histories of Everyday Life: The Making of Popular Social History in Britain, 1918-1979

ISBN : 9780198868330

Laura Carter
288 ページ
153 x 234 mm
Past & Present Book Series

Histories of Everyday Life is a study of the production and consumption of popular social history in mid-twentieth century Britain. It explores 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 that emerged after 1918. It was popularized to ordinary people in educational settings, through books, in classrooms and museums, and on BBC radio. After tracing its development and dissemination between the 1920s and the 1960s, this book argues that 'history of everyday life' declined in the 1970s not because academics invented an alternative 'new' social history, but because bottom-up social change rendered this form of popular social history 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 we should see the twentieth century as Britain's educational century.


Introduction: Education and popular social history in Britain
Part I: Defining and justifying a new social history after 1918
1 The publishing of popular social history books
2 Social history for 'ordinary' school pupils
Part II: Mid-twentieth century popularization
3 The 'history of everyday life' on BBC radio
4 'Histories of everyday life' in local museums
5 The 'history of everyday life' as a cultural policy in London local government
Part III: The educational unmaking of popular social history
6 Social history and mass education in the 1970s
Conclusion: Everyday life at the end of the educational century


Laura Carter studied history at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where she also did her MPhil and PhD in history. She was subsequently Lecturer in Modern British History at Kings College London, Research Fellow at Murray Edwards College, Cambridge, and a postdoctoral Research Associate in the Faculty of History, University of Cambridge working on an ESRC-funded project about the history of secondary education in the United Kingdom since 1945. She is now a Lecturer in British History at the University of Paris and a member of the CNRS research unit Laboratoire de Recherche sur les Cultures Anglophones.