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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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‘The people's amusement’: the growth in cinema-going and reading habits

‘The people's amusement’: the growth in cinema-going and reading habits

(p.13) 1 ‘The people's amusement’: the growth in cinema-going and reading habits
Popular Culture and Working-Class Taste in Britain, 1930-39

Robert James

Manchester University Press

Cinema-going was the most popular leisure pursuit in the 1930s and had become the essential social habit. This chapter provides a broad survey of the growth of the cinema-going habit in the period, outlines the various reasons behind it and assesses how different consumer groups could be attracted to this relatively new leisure form. The dissemination of the various roles performed by other leisure pursuits is essential to better understand the social and cultural tasks cinema-going performed. The other contrasting leisure activity chosen is reading. Cinema-going was a communal activity, reading was a primarily solitary pastime; the cinema offered a visual and sound experience, reading offered a literary one. There is more than a casual overlap between the cultural experiences of both leisure activities, and many similarities in their production and consumption, which the chapter identifies.

Keywords:   cinema-going, reading, communal activity, leisure pursuit, cultural goods

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