First published in 1957 ,and reprinted with a new introduction in 1986, Michael Young and Peter Willmott’s book on family and kinship in Bethnal Green in the 1950s is a classic in urban studies.
A standard text in planning, housing, family studies and sociology, it predicted the failure in social terms of the great rehousing campaign which was getting under way in the 1950s. The tall flats built to replace the old ‘slum’ houses were unpopular. Social networks were broken up. The book had an immediate impact when it appeared – extracts were published in the newspapers, the sales were a record for a report of a sociological study, Government ministers quoted it. But the approach it advocated was not accepted until the late 1960s, and by then it was too late.
This Routledge Revivals reissue includes the authors' introduction from the 1986 reissue, reviewing the impact of the book and its ideas thirty years on. They argue that if the lessons implicit in the book had been learned in the 1950s, London and other British cities might not have suffered the 'anomie' and violence manifested in the urban riots of the 1980s.
Part I: Kinship in Bethnal Green 1. Husbands and wives, past and present 2. Where people live 3. Mothers and daughters 4. Husbands and mothers 5. The kinship network 6. The family in the economy 7. Kinship and community Part II: Families on the move 8. From Bethnal Green to Greenleigh 9. The family at Greenleigh 10. Keeping themselves to themselves 11. Movement between classes 12. In conclusion: Planning and family life.
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