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Popular Culture and Working-Class Taste in Britain, 1930-39A Round of Cheap Diversions?$
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Robert James

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780719080258

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719080258.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Popular Culture and Working-Class Taste in Britain, 1930-39

Robert James

Manchester University Press

This chapter provides an understanding of the role of popular leisure in a period during which British society's engagement with it was vital. The social and cultural roles of cinema-going and reading in the lives of the working classes in 1930s Britain are explored. The reason for this exploration is threefold. First, social investigators showed particular interest in the leisure activities of the working classes in the 1930s; it was this social group that caused most concern. Second, cinema-going and reading, as two of the most popular leisure pastimes among working class consumers, came under greatest scrutiny. Third, and finally, historians, like contemporaries of the period, have been rather reluctant to analyze the meaning of popular leisure for those consuming it, and have frequently identified working-class consumers as passive observers with no individual agency.

Keywords:   popular leisure, cinema-going, reading, working class, British society

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