In this insightful new study, Andrew August examines the British working class in the period when Britain became a mature industrial power, working men and women dominated massive new urban populations, and the extension of suffrage brought them into the political nation for the first time.
Framing his subject chronologically, but treating it thematically, August gives a vivid account of working class life between the mid-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries, examining the issues and concerns central to working-class identity. Identifying shared patterns of experience in the lives of workers, he avoids the limitations of both traditional historiography dominated by economic determinism and party politics, and the revisionism which too readily dismisses the importance of class in British society.
Table of Contents
PART I: 1832-1870
Introduction: Britain in 1832
1. Forming the Urban Working Class
2. Labor in the “Factory Age”
3. Leisure and the Urban Worker
4. Working-Class Identity and Politics
PART II: 1870-1914
Introduction: Discontinuity in 1870?
5. The “Traditional” Working-Class Community
6. Control, Conflict and Collective Bargaining in the Workplace
7. Expanding Leisure Opportunities
8. Class Identity and Everyday Politics
PART III: 1914-1940
Introduction: The Working Class and the Great War
9. Old and New Working-Class Communities
10. Unemployment, Dislocation and New Industries
11. Cinema, Dance Hall and Streets
12. Patriotism, Politics and Identity
Conclusion: Change and Continuity, 1832-1940
Andrew August is Associate Professor of History in the Abington College of Penn State University, Pennsylvania, USA. He is the author of Poor Women's Lives: Gender, Work and Poverty in Late-Victorian London (1999).