This book is the first of its kind: a historical inquiry into the family life of British diplomats between 1945 and 1990. It examines the ways in which the British Diplomatic Service reacted to and were influenced by the radical social changes that took place in Britain during the latter half of the twentieth century. It asks to what extent diplomats, who strove to protect their enclosed and elite circles, were suitable to represent this changing nation.
Drawing on previously unseen primary sources and interview testimony, this book explores themes of societal change, end of empire, second wave feminism, new approaches to childcare, and developments in the civil service. It explores questions of belonging and identity, as well as enduring perceptions of this organisation that is (often mistakenly) understood to be quintessentially 'British'.
Offering new and fresh insights, this book will be of interest to students and scholars in history, historical geography, political studies, sociology, feminist studies and cultural studies.
Table of Contents
Introduction. 1. 1945 - 1958. Part I: Diplomatic Service families at the time of the Second World War. Part II: Family life in Britain after the Second World War. Part III: The culture of separation. Chapter 2: 1958 - 1971. Part I: The Plowden Report. Part II: Youth culture, counterculture, third culture: the Diplomatic Service family during the "swinging sixties". Part III: The Third "Concessionary" Journey. 3: 1972 - 1984. Part I: Diplomatic wives and feminism. Part II: Children’s voices. Part III: Diplomatic Families and global threat. 4: 1985 - 1990. Part I: Plus ca change, diplomatic family life in the late 1980s. Part II: A change of attitude. Part III: The making of the transnational elite. Conclusion.
Sara Hiorns is a historian of modern Britain with a special interest in the social and cultural history of the British Foreign Office.