Dr Hugh Pemberton
Reader in Contemporary British History
Office: G.76, 15 Woodland Rd
Phone: +44 (0)117 928 7621
Web: Hugh Pemberton's personal website
Dr Hugh Pemberton is interested in the history of Britain, and particularly of British politics, since the Second World War. His research focuses principally on economic and social policy. He has a particular interest in the means by which radical policy change occurs (and why it sometimes doesn't), in why such change sometimes turns out to be temporary despite intentions to the contrary, and in why it is that changes that might seem apparently superficial sometimes turn out have enduring consequences. He is currently pursuing three parallel research projects: the postwar history of British pensions; the importance of the 1970s in postwar British history; and the recent history of the Labour Party. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and was an investigator on the AHRC-funded Penguin Archive Project.
Dr Pemberton welcomes proposals from prospective postgraduate students interested in researching contemporary British history, particularly but not exclusively in the fields of economic or social policy, the process of government, and party politics. Projects relating to the history of Penguin Books would also be welcomed. Examples of current and recently completed PhD and M.Phil projects supervised by Dr Pemberton include:
- Ideas and the Labour Party
- The Labour Party and 'nostalgia'
- Penguin Specials and the centre-left in Britain
- The development of personal social services in postwar Britain
- The Thatcherite economic policy revolution of the 1980s
- The social costs of unemployment in the 1970s and 1980s
- Britain's Cold War (1st year Special Topic)
- Politics and society in contemporary Britain (2nd year Lecture/Response unit)
- Decade of discord: Britain in the 1970s (2nd year Special Field)
- The politics of 'decline' in Britain's postwar 'golden age' and after (3rd year Lecture/Response unit)
Dr Pemberton contributes to teaching the contemporary history pathway of the MA in History:
- Teaches on the core unit 'Themes in contemporary history'
- Offers a taught optional unit: 'New Labour in its historical context'
Articles and chapters
- ‘Labour’s lost grassroots: the rise and fall of Labour party membership’ (with M. Wickham-Jones), British Politics, vol. 8, no. 2 (2013), pp. 181-206. (Also available as a free-to-download pre-print).
- ‘Brothers all? The operation of the electoral college in the 2010 Labour leadership contest’ (with M. Wickham-Jones), Parliamentary Affairs (2013, in press but available via ‘early view’).
- 'The failure of "nationalization by attraction": Britain’s cross-class alliance against earnings-related pensions in the 1950s', Economic History Review (in press).
- 'Economic policy and practice', in M. Wadsworth and J. Bynner (eds.), A Companion to Life Course Studies (Routledge, 2011).
- '"What matters is what works": from "national superannuation" to "personal accounts"', British Politics, vol. 5, no. 1 (2010), pp. 41-64.
- 'The ‘winter of discontent’ in British politics' (with Lawrence Black). Political Quarterly, vol. 80, no. 4 (2009), pp. 553-561.
- 'Relative decline and British governance in the 1960s', The Historical Journal, vol. 47, no. 4 (2004), pp. 989-1013.
- 'Learning and change in 20th century British economic policy” (with M.J. Oliver), Governance, vol. 17, no. 3 (July 2004), pp. 415-441.
- 'Learning, governance and economic policy', British Journal of Politics and International Relations, vol. 5, no. 4 (2003), pp. 500-524.
- 'Policy networks and policy learning: UK economic policy in the 1960s and 1970s', Public Administration, vol. 78, no. 4 (2000), pp. 771-792.
See the full list of Dr Pemberton's publications held in the University's Explore Bristol Research database.
Note: some of the documents on this page are in PDF format. In order to view a PDF you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader