1st Edition

The Challenge of Labour Shaping British Society, 1850–1930

By Keith Burgess Copyright 1980

    The Challenge of Labour (1980) explains the changing forms of labour’s relationship with British society during the period of 1850 to 1930 – as the economic and social relations of Britain, the pioneer of modern industrial development, were undergoing a profound transformation due to increasing pressure from foreign competitors. It looks at the importance of the forces of production in determining the character of the relationship, whilst regarding labour as a creative act, identifying man as a social animal. This important period gave rise to a unique symbiosis in terms of a mutually dependent but simultaneously antagonistic relationship, reflected in the growth of trade unionism, associations for working class ‘self-help’, and labourist political movements during the years 1850–70. The book goes on to explain why and how these forms of labour’s relationship with British society as a whole were subsequently to be transformed as they were affected by the changing direction of Britain’s economic development after the 1870s. This resulted in a recognisable ‘modern’ pattern of British social relations, marked by a growing acceptance of ‘corporatist’ solutions to problems of economic and social instability.

    1. The Accommodation of Labour, 1850s–70s  2. The Challenge of the 1880s  3. The Struggle for Control, 1890–1906  4. The Edwardian ‘Crisis’, 1906–14  5. 1914–20: A New Social Order?  6. The 1920s: The Challenge Contained  7. Post-1926: Labourism Rehabilitated


    Keith Burgess