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The Rise and Fall of Class in Britain : Leonard Hastings Schoff Lectures - Mr David Cannadine

The Rise and Fall of Class in Britain

Leonard Hastings Schoff Lectures

Paperback Published: 15th July 2000
ISBN: 9780231096676
Number Of Pages: 320
For Ages: 22+ years old

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Although it is widely believed that the British are obsessed with class to a degree unrivaled by any other nation, politicians in Britain are now calling for a "classless society," and scholars are concluding that class does not matter any more. But has class -- once considered the master narrative of British history -- fallen, failed, and been dismissed? In this wholly original and brilliantly argued book, David Cannadine shows that Britons have indeed been preoccupied with class, but in ways that are invariably ignorant and confused. Cannadine sets out to expose this ignorance and banish this confusion by imaginatively examining class itself, not so much as the history of society but as the history of the different ways in which Britons have thought about their society.

Cannadine proposes that "class" may best be understood as a shorthand term for three distinct but abiding ways in which the British have visualized their social worlds and identities: class as "us" versus "them;" class as "upper," "middle," and "lower"; and class as a seamless hierarchy of individual social relations. From the eighteenth through the twentieth century, he traces the ebb and flow of these three ways of viewing British society, unveiling the different purposes each model has served.

Encompassing social, intellectual, and political history, Cannadine uncovers the meanings of class from Adam Smith to Karl Marx to Margaret Thatcher, showing the key moments in which thinking about class shifted, such as the aftermath of the French Revolution and the rise the Labor Party in the early twentieth century. He cogently argues that Marxist attempts to view history in terms of class struggle are often as oversimplified as conservative approaches that deny the central place of class in British life. In conclusion, Cannadine considers whether it is possible or desirable to create a "classless society," a pledge made by John Major that has continued to resonate even after the conservative defeat. Until we know what class really means-and has meant-to the British, we cannot seriously address these questions.

Creative, erudite, and accessible, "The Rise and Fall of Class in Britain" offers a fresh and engaging perspective on both British history and the crucial topic of class.

Industry Reviews

Learned, elegant, and thoughtful. One might almost say classy. -- John Naughton The London Times A book which displays the lucidity, learning, and imaginative grasp for which the author is already widely admired. -- Roger Scruton Literary Review By far the best study of this slippery subject that I have ever read. -- Peregrine Worsthorne Spectator Invariably stimulating... lights up the history of the past three centuries from an angle to which we are largely unaccustomed. -- Philip Ziegler Daily Telegraph Everyone interested in the evolution of contemporary Britain should read this book. -- Arthur Marwick Observer Fascinating and deeply enjoyable. -- Geoffrey Wheatcroft The Atlantic Monthly

Beyond Class - Forward to Class?p. 1
Class as Historyp. 2
Class Dismissedp. 8
Class as Social Descriptionp. 16
Class Here, Now, and Thenp. 22
The Eighteenth Century: Class Without Class Strugglep. 25
English Social Worldsp. 26
British Social Worldsp. 35
Social Life and Social Perceptionsp. 46
Creating a Classless Societyp. 53
The Nineteenth Century: A Viable Hierarchical Societyp. 59
Social Visions and Social Divisionsp. 61
The "Politics of Class" Propoundedp. 75
The "Politics of Class" Deniedp. 91
The Way They Saw Things Thenp. 106
The Twentieth Century: Social Identities and Political Identitiesp. 109
The "Politics of Class" Propounded Againp. 110
The "Politics of Class" Denied Againp. 130
Class Acts and Class Factsp. 148
New Society, Old Societyp. 165
Conclusion: Toward a "Classless Society"?p. 167
Long-Term Retrospectivep. 168
The Impact of Thatcherp. 175
Major, Blair, and Beyondp. 184
How We See Ourselvesp. 193
List of Abbreiviationsp. 195
Notesp. 197
Indexp. 275
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780231096676
ISBN-10: 0231096674
Series: Leonard Hastings Schoff Lectures
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 22+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 15th July 2000
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.3 x 14.55  x 1.8
Weight (kg): 0.4

Earn 104 Qantas Points
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