Mass Observation and Everyday Life: Culture, History, Theory by N. Hubble

By N. Hubble

The social-research association Mass-Observation used to be based in 1937. during this publication, the real volume and value of Mass-Observation's detailed position within the formation of postwar Britain's notion of itself throughout the exam of daily life around the lengthy 20th century. a superb advisor to Mass-Observation and the interval normally, this scholarly paintings additionally offers amazing insights into the function social learn has performed within the improvement of coverage and mass democracy.

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Significantly, it was the great depression of the early 1870s that marked the opening of the long twentieth century, which prompted Booth, recovering from a physical breakdown caused by overwork in running the Booth Steamship Company, to start to think about the ways in which ‘the people’ lived. Eventually, he evolved a technique of applying the quantitative methods of business to information gathered from School Board visitors to London Schools (elementary education had been universal since 1870).

Suggesting that this idea corresponds to Karl Marx’s general formula of capital MCM’, which represents the transition of fluid money capital (M) into fixed commodity capital (C) and back into (increased) fluid capital (M’), Arrighi identifies four overlapping systemic cycles of capitalist accumulation: respectively long fifteenth-sixteenth, seventeenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries (6, 364). Periods of finance capitalism, when capital is released from the fixed commodity form, constitute the overlapping transitional phases between the cycles.

This model can readily be applied to the history of M-O and particularly to the life trajectories of Harrisson and Madge, who had the same imperial and educational background as Orwell, being born respectively in Argentina and South Africa and educated respectively at Harrow and Winchester. Not only did Harrisson tramp like Orwell, but his eventual plunge into the industrial working-class life of Bolton followed immediately after his two year sojourn in the New Hebrides, which had included a spell as a colonial official.

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