1300 36 33 32

The associational life of middle-class women in twentieth-century England has been largely ignored by historians. During the Second World War women's clubs, guilds, and institutes provided a basis for the mobilization of up to a million women, mainly housewives, into unpaid part-time work. Women's Voluntary Service, which was set up by the Government in 1938 to organize this work, generated a rich archive of reports and correspondence which provide the social historian with a unique window into the female public sphere. Questioning the view that the Second World War served to democratize English society, James Hinton shows how the war enabled middle-class social leaders to reinforce their claims to authority. Displaying 'character' through their voluntary work, the leisured women at the centre of this study made themselves indispensable to the war effort. James Hinton delineates these 'continuities of class', reconstructing intimate portraits of local female social leadership in contrasting settings across provincial England (towns large and small, shire counties, the Durham coalfield), tracing complex and often acerbic rivalries within the voluntary sector, and uncovering gulfs of mutual distrust and incomprehension dividing publicly active women along gendered frontiers of class and party. This study reminds us how much Britain's wartime mobilization relied on a Victorian ethos of public service to cope with the profoundly un-Victorian problems of total war. The women's associations so evocatively explored here reached the apex of their effectiveness during the Second World War, sustaining an uneasy balance between voluntarism and the expanding power of the state. In the longer term female social leaders found themselves marginalized by bureaucracy and professionalization. The stories told here demonstrate that the Second World War changed English society far less than is often assumed. It was not until the 1950s and 1960s that practices and attitudes laid down in the nineteenth century finally lost their purchase.

Buy Women, Social Leadership and the Second World War book by James Hinton from Australia's Online Bookstore, Boomerang Books.

Book Details

ISBN: 9780199243297
ISBN-10: 0199243298
Format: Hardback
(242mm x 162mm x 20mm)
Pages: 280
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 21-Nov-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

» Have you read this book? We'd like to know what you think about it - write a review about Women, Social Leadership and the Second World War book by James Hinton and you'll earn 50c in Boomerang Bucks loyalty dollars (you must be a member - it's free to sign up!)

Write Review


Books By Author James Hinton

Seven Lives from Mass Observation by James Hinton

Seven Lives from Mass Observation

Hardback, October 2016
$45.86
Mass Observers by James Hinton

The Mass Observers

Hardback, March 2013
$64.76
Nine Wartime Lives by James Hinton

Nine Wartime Lives

Paperback, June 2011
$40.46
Life in Nature by James Hinton

Life in Nature

Paperback, July 2009
$41.36