Accueil > British Social & Political History 1945 to the Present day

DHIS 2330A - British Social & Political History 1945 to the Present day

Type d'enseignement : Elective

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

The post-war period in British history saw the development of a modern political state which regarded the well-being of its citizens as one of its prime responsibilities. Hence the growth of the welfare state with care of the population "from cradle to grave" as its principal slogan. The introduction of the welfare state came about as a result of the surprising victory of the Labour Party in the 1945 election. And the popularity of the new National Health Service guaranteed a cross-party consensus on this issue for the rest of the century. However, successive governments found it increasingly difficult to fund the welfare state during periods of high unemployment and low economic production rates towards the end of the century. Britain also saw the birth of a teenage culture during the 1950s and '60s inspired first by the rebellious sounds of Bill Haley and Elvis Presley from "across the pond" but quickly followed by indigenous musicians such as Cliff Richard, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. A liberalising of society also occurred with the legalisation of homosexuality, abortion, relaxed divorce laws and the abolition of the death penalty. But internal tensions existed as job opportunities were reduced and traditional working class employment in coalmining, steel and ship building and car manufacturing began to disappear. A disaffected working class could be persuaded by unscrupulous politicians that unemployment was a direct result of immigration and racial conflicts began to mark the political scene during the 1980s and '90s. Our period ends as it began with a landslide victory for the Labour Party. The dynamic young leader, Tony Blair, had claimed the Party as his own, unofficially re-naming it "New Labour". But what kind of Labour Party was it? And what would Blair's legacy be? Could he possibly compete with Clement Attlee whose social vision for the future remained one of the key elements of British society as the new millennium dawned?


PARK, Adrian (Maitre de conférences)

Additional required reading

  • Adelman, Paul. Britain: Domestic Politics 1939-64. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1994
  • Childs, David. Britain Since 1945: A Political History. London: Routledge, 2001
  • Clarke, Peter. Hope and Glory: Britain 1900-1990. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1996
  • Marr, Andrew. A History of Modern Britain. London: Pan Books, 2007
  • Morgan, Kenneth O. The People's Peace: British History 1945-90. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990