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Unit information: Politics and Society in Contemporary Britain (Level I Lecture Response) in 2015/16

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Unit name Politics and Society in Contemporary Britain (Level I Lecture Response)
Unit code HIST25007
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Pemberton
Open unit status Open




School/department Department of History (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

The changes that took place in postwar Britain were enormous: the development of an affluent consumer society with ‘shopping’ the main leisure activity; a new youth-oriented culture; the transformation of women’s lives as they moved out of the home and into the workplace; the development of a multicultural society; and an increasingly middle class and individualised electorate less identified by their background with a particular political party and more likely to ask politicians ‘what can you do for me and my family’. Politicians had to come to terms with all this. In turn, however, the evolution of postwar politics had a huge impact on British society, not least because governments took upon themselves an unprecedented degree of responsibility for the economic and social wellbeing of British citizens. This unit explores these important interrelationships between social, cultural, and economic change, and the evolving politics of postwar Britain.


  • To provide a broad grounding in the history of postwar Britain
  • To provide an introduction to particular perspectives from which that history can be approached to which students can react critically and build their own individual views and interpretations.

Intended Learning Outcomes

  • wider historical knowledge of the history of Britain since the second world war
  • deeper awareness of how to approach a long term historical analysis
  • ability to set individual issues within their longer term historical context
  • the ability to analyse and generalise about issues of continuity and change
  • ability to select pertinent evidence/data in order to illustrate/demonstrate more general historical points
  • ability to derive benefit from and contribute effectively to large group discussion
  • ability to identify a particular academic interpretation, evaluate it critically and form an individual viewpoint.

Teaching Information

  • Weekly 2-hour interactive lectures
  • Tutorial feedback on essay
  • Access to tutorial consultation with unit tutor in office hours

Assessment Information

1 x 3000 word essay (50%) and 1 x 2 hour exam (50%)

Reading and References

Addison, P., The Road to 1945 (1994)

Addison, P., No turning back: the peacetime revolutions of post-war Britain (2010).

Addison, P. & Jones, H. (eds.), Companion to contemporary Britain, 1939-2000 (2005)

Bogdanor, V. (ed.), From New Jerusalem to New Labour (2009)

Carnevali, F. Twentieth-century Britain (2007)

Clarke, P., Hope and glory: Britain, 1900-1990 (1996)

Dutton, D., British politics since 1945: the rise, fall and rebirth of consensus (1997)

Marwick, A., British society since 1945 (2003)

Morgan, K. O., The people's peace: British history, 1945-1990 (Oxford, 1990)

Rosen, A., The transformation of British life, 1950-2000: a social history (2003).