Women and Families: An Oral History, 1940-1970

Women and Families: An Oral History, 1940-1970

Paperback Family, Sexuality & Social Relations

By (author) Elizabeth Roberts

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  • Publisher: BLACKWELL PUBLISHERS
  • Format: Paperback | 296 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 226mm x 22mm | 481g
  • Publication date: 6 April 1995
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0631196137
  • ISBN 13: 9780631196136
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Illustrations note:

Product description

This is an account of three English working--class communities in England from 1940 to 1970. The story is told through the words and memories of those who lived through it. The book is at once vivid, moving and eye--opening.

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Author information

Elizabeth Roberts is Director of the Centre for North--West Regional Studies in Lancaster University. She is a social/ oral historian with a particular interest in womena s and family history. Born in Barrow--in--Furness, she has spent most of her life in the North West and is involved in the local community as a magistrate and school governor.

Review quote

"It is difficult to praise Elizabeth Robertsa Women and Families too highly. It confirms her reputation as one of the finest social historians and most perceptive practitioners of oral history techniques working in Britain today. This book is more than just a sequel to her path--breaking earlier work, A Womana s Place; it is a superb study of a period which brought revolutionary changes to how people live their lives in Britain: 1940--1970. Sensitively using interview material gathered in Barrow, Preston and Lancaster, Roberts has written a book which should become standard reading for anyone interested in recent British social history. It is full of fascinating and often surprising insights, is careful in its judgements, and is a pleasure to read." Dr Richard Bessel, The Open University, UK "Many oral historians succumb to the temptation of allowing quotations from interviews to a speak for themselvesa . Roberts supports the rich detail extracted from approximately one hundred oral history interviews with a thorough use of social statistics, public records and the voluminous secondary literature concerned with social and family life in postwar Britain. This foundation provides additional authority to her conclusions. Nonetheless, Robertsa s liberal use of interview materials puts a human face on postwar working--class experience. Our sisters, mothers, aunties and grandmothers speak to us from the pages of Women and Families. This is an extremely readable, satisfying book which is also destined to become a social history classic." Lucinda McCray Beier, Illinois State University "Her two volumes appear austere but tell an absorbing tale. I hope she is collecting material for a third." Times Educational Supplement "Women and Families is a powerful work. It will be of great significance not only to historians but also to social commentators who are looking for responses to the problems of the 1990s ... The strength of Elizabeth Robertsa s research is in emphasising the place of working--class women. Their place is not in the margins. It is at the hub of working--class life." Social History Society Bulletin "This is a strong book that deserves a wide readership. Lucid, informative, and interesting, Roberts carefully weaves a fascinating story, threading her non--obtrusive analysis through the richness of the oral data. It is oral history at its best." Economic History Review

Back cover copy

This account of English working-class communities in England from 1940 to 1970 is told through the words and memories of those who lived then. The book is at once vivid, moving and eye-opening. This was a period of change, usually seen as progress. People everywhere became better off. Healthcare was provided free and the education of children was universal. This was the first age of the domestic machine, releasing women for employment in paid work. The church, the police, teachers and the state became less sources of authority than of care. Television provided entertainment in the home. Improved methods of contraception emancipated sexuality. But, as Elizabeth Roberts shows, the caring state and the privatized family were also accompanied by a diminished sense of community an neighborliness, and by a loss of confidence in previously accepted standards and values in family relationships and the rearing of children. "Women and Families" provides an always fascinating insight into the realities of social change during three crucial decades of English history. Few of the accepted generalizations - concerning the changing roles of men and women, the loss of working-class solidarity, the decline of family and communal life, the effects of high-rise living, and the benefits of healthcare and social welfare - survive the evidence so ably assembled here. This is an important and exciting book: it will be widely read.

Table of contents

1. The Context. 2. Homes and Houses. 3. Growing Up -- Relationships with Parents: Getting a Job. 4. The Opposite Sex. 5. Family Planning and Role Relationships in Marriage. 6. Marriage -- For Better? For Worse?. 7. Married Womena s Paid Employment. 8. Changing Attitudes to Child Care. 9. Attitudes to Social Conditioning and Education. 10. The Extended Family. 11. Neighbours and Neighbourhoods. 12. Conclusion.