23rd May 2019

Professor Christina de Bellaigue publishes article on social mobility


Professor Christina de Bellaigue, Exeter College Jackson Fellow and Tutor in History, has edited a special issue of Cultural and Social History and published an article on social mobility, both of which are available to read online now.

The special issue of Cultural and Social History is on the theme of “Rags to riches: new histories of social mobility in modern Britain“. It builds on the work of The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH) interdisciplinary network “Rags to Riches: Experiences of Social Mobility” and especially on a workshop that was supported by TORCH and Exeter College, Rethinking Social Mobility Workshop. It includes an introduction from Professor de Bellaigue and an article, “Great Expectations? Childhood, Family, and Middle-Class Social Mobility in Nineteenth-Century England“.

Professor de Bellaigue sets out in the abstract of the article: “Existing histories of social mobility have focused on adults and on measuring the achievement of individual upward mobility. However, children and families were central to mobility strategies. Using the papers of the Heywoods of Bolton, this article examines how the families of the industrial middle class endowed their offspring with the goods and character needed to secure their social standing, highlighting the emotional intricacy of these processes. It demonstrates that such families conceived of social mobility as a familial project and that rather than pursuing upward mobility, their chief objective was to guard against social decline.”

Other topics covered in the special issue include diversity in World War Two Britain, a history of early women at the BBC, how tea shaped the modern world, and toys and the material culture of childhood.

All of these articles, and more, are available to read online here.

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