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Title: Special Section Introduction: Mass Observation as Method
Authors: Casey, E
Courage, F
Hubble, N
Keywords: Mass Observation;Everyday life;Sociological method
Issue Date: 2014
Citation: Sociological Research Online, 2014, 19 (3)
Abstract: Since Mass Observation's foundation in 1937, the organisation has played witness to the great and the small events of everyday life during the last eight decades, recording people's opinions, beliefs and experiences, and making them available for researchers to develop new interpretations of British social life. Although the data produced is often messy and unwieldy and apparently contradicts many sociological assumptions about methodological rigour, the Archive is uniquely placed to offer detailed and exceptionally rich accounts of the fibre of everyday life and to reveal the deep complexities of family, personal and intimate life. As Mike Savage notes in Identities and Social Change in Britain since 1940, 'Mass-Observation is the most studied, and arguably the most important, social research institution of the mid-twentieth century' (Savage 2010: 57). He situates this significance in it providing the focus for the emergence of a new intellectual class in late 1930s Britain of people who identified with a social scientific outlook. Until that point in time, the main point of entry into intellectual circles for newly educated classes was through literary culture, which was often implicitly elitist and hierarchical in its attitude to wider society.
ISSN: 1360-7804
Appears in Collections:Dept of Arts and Humanities Research Papers

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