First published in 2013. How can we define working class culture? Since the late 1950s, the term has become more complex, because of both social changes and intense debates about the meaning of ‘culture’. Through this collection of original case studies and theoretical essays, the authors explore some central problems in the field. The first part of the book provides a unique critical review of existing literature, focusing on two main traditions of writing about the working class. Examining the empirical sociology tradition, the authors analyse a group of books from the post-war debate about affluence and its immediate aftermath. In looking at the related tradition of working class historiography, they examine the origins of social and labour history from the 1880s up to the 1960s, and conclude by discussing some of the dilemmas of history writing in the 1970s. Part two is a series of case studies which span the whole period that a working class has existed, with emphasis on the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and which examine the most important spheres of working class life: politics, education, youth, recreation, waged and domestic labour. Part three returns to some of the problems raised in part one, considering three main ways in which working class culture can be understood, through the problematics of ‘consciousness’, ‘culture’ or ‘ideology’, and examining the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. The authors argue for a more fruitful and developed way of thinking about working class culture, and suggest some guidelines for a history of the post-war working class.
Table of Contents
Part 1 Traditions and approaches; Chapter 1 Sociology, cultural studies and the post-war working class, Chas Critcher; Chapter 2 Culture and the historians, Richard Johnson; Part 2 Studies; Chapter 3 ‘Really useful knowledge’: radical education and working-class culture, 1790-1848, Richard Johnson; Chapter 4 Imperialism, nationalism and organized youth, Michael Blanch; Chapter 5 Daughters and mothers - maids and mistresses: domestic service between the wars, Pam Taylor; Chapter 6 Recreation in Rochdale, 1900-40, Paul Wild; Chapter 7 Football since the war, Chas Critcher; Chapter 8 Shop floor culture, masculinity and the wage form, Paul Willis; Part 3 Theories; Chapter 9 Three problematics: elements of a theory of working-class culture, Richard Johnson; Chapter 10 Capital and culture: the post-war working class revisited, John Clarke;
John Clarke, Chas Critcher, Richard Johnson. The Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) was a research centre at the University of Birmingham. It is notable for producing many key studies and researchers in the field of Cultural Studies. It was founded in 1964 by Richard Hoggart, who became the first centre director. The Cultural Studies department at the University of Birmingham was closed in 2002.