HENB01154U English - Elective subject 4, topic 4: Swinging Britain? British Politics, Society and Culture in the 1960s

Volume 2014/2015

Few decades evoke such colourful images in the modern imagination as the 1960s: hippies, pop music, the mini skirt and youth revolt.  Historians, politicians and social commentators all continue to tell dramatic, but competing stories of the sixties as an era of major social and cultural change, either for good or ill.  For some it was a time of cultural and social liberalisation; Britain shed its Victorian conservatism along with the economic austerity of the depression and war years.  For others sixties permissiveness symbolised the moral, spiritual and imperial decline that Britain underwent during this decade. This module will consider the British experience of the 1960s.  It will introduce students to some of the key political, social, and cultural changes of the decade, from developments in high governmental politics to changes affecting people’s everyday lives.  Students will examine the competing narratives prevailing throughout sixties Britain: as the nation celebrated the new and the modern, politicians and social commentators worried about the decline of imperial power and the threat to social order posed by the new youth culture.  The module aims to develop undergraduates’ experience of historiography.  In this module students will address the contested question of the sixties as an era of revolution in Britain.  They will consider the myths that have contributed to competing historical readings of Britain’s ‘swinging sixties’.  Topics to be studied will include: post-war anxieties, intellectuals and the decline of Empire; post-war consumer society, education and the shaping of youth culture; ‘swinging London’, sixties popular culture, permissiveness and the counter-culture; the Labour government, immigration and the politics of race; poverty, class and the crisis of Labour; gender, ‘1968’ and women’s liberation.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 162,75
  • Total
  • 204,75
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Criteria for exam assesment