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British social and economic history 1945-97 HI1008

This course aims to draw out the particular features which made the economic and social history of Britain in the three decades between the beginning of the First World War and the end of the Second, and to study them in depth while incorporating basic economic statistics as a tool for analysis.

Most of the emphasis of the course will be on the years of turmoil during the 1920s and 1930s, and will deal with the social impact of economic change as much as the economy itself.

Credits

15 Credits

Topics covered

This course aims to draw out the particular features which made the economic and social history of Britain in the years of war and chaos 1914-45 so distinct, and to study them in depth while incorporating basic economic statistics. For this course, the main distinguishing features of Britain’s economy and industrial society selected for study are:

  • The rise of mass unemployment; the controversies over its causes; its impact on society and the economy; and implications it had for the development of economic policy and theory
  • Economic depression and recovery; the decline of the ‘old’ industries, and the rise of the ‘new’ industries
  • The position of Britain in the international economy
  • Changes in economic policy, especially leading up to the active Government management of the economy at war, 1939-45

Learning outcomes

Students successfully completing this course should be familiar at its end with:

  • The main contours of the stagnation and decline of the British Industrial Economy from the end of the Edwardian era to 1945
  • The skills need to interpret descriptive and summary economic statistics as a basis for historical interpretation and analysis (although the use of statistics will be at an elementary level)
  • The language and methods of Historians writing from a Social Sciences perspective – in this case based on social and economic theory
  • The way that British Government economic policy and the economic relationship between the British state and the individual has evolved from a laissez-faire stance in 1914 to the Keynesian revolution in 1941-45
  • The way that substantial economic change and distress can affect the fabric of society

Assessment

Exam: 100%

Essential reading

  • British Society Since 1945 by Arthur Marwick
  • The Management of the British Economy, 1945-2001 by Nicholas Woodward
  • The British Economy since 1945: Engaging with the Debate by Roger Middleton

Taster study material