This article argues that exploring the interpersonal dynamics of social-science interviews can help us recast the conclusions of classic social surveys. Its focus is the original fieldwork undertaken for Goldthorpe and Lockwood's influential anti-revisionist study of affluent workers in 1960s England. In this study, the class gulf between Luton car workers and Cambridge academics mattered more than is sometimes recognized, but its effects were subtly cross-cut by the influence of age and gender. Both interviewer and respondent tended to define themselves against an older, socially-conformist and status-conscious outlook which the interviewers called 'bourgeois' and the respondents 'snobbish'. This shared disavowal of bourgeois snobbery owed much to the presentational strategies that male interviewees pursued to neutralize social inequalities inherent in the social-science encounter. Male workers' sensitivity to questions of 'status' led them to play down its importance when talking to university professionals (although their wives were sometimes on hand to puncture the performance). But the researchers' relative indifference to questions of gender and self-presentation encouraged them largely to accept male workers' testimony at face value. One consequence was that they radically exaggerated the scope for a revivified class politics based on working-class instrumentalism. Status consciousness, individualism and social aspiration were all much stronger forces than they allowed among England's postwar 'affluent' workers.
During the British miners' strike of 1984-5 a large network of support groups was established throughout the UK and internationally, primarily to provide financial support. This article looks at the history of one group within this diverse social movement: London Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, which collected funds primarily for the Dulais mining community in South Wales. In the words of one member, the group attempted to bring 'socialism onto the agenda of sexual politics in the London lesbian and gay community [... and] sexual politics onto the agenda of trade union politics'. This article looks both at the practical ways in which LGSM attempted to do this, and at how the concepts of class, community and oppression were employed to explain this alliance. It places the group in the context of longer-term developments within the British left, arguing that LGSM both reflected and contributed to a weakening of the central position of class, and an increasing openness to a more diverse politics, within the ideology of the left in the 1980s. It argues for the potentially transformative effect of solidarity, and for the importance of small-scale histories in understanding such processes.
This article explores debates in India after the trial and murder of the publisher of Rangila Rasul, a satire of the Prophet Muhammad's marital life. The Lahore High Court acquitted the publisher of criminal charges in 1927, leading to an outcry by Indian Muslims. The mainstream Indian press and Hindu leaders proclaimed that Indian Muslims had 'gone mad' and accused them of endangering the freedom struggle. Historians have also emphasized the role of emotional devotion to the Prophet in shaping Muslims' protests. The article argues instead that appeals to religious sentiments were inextricably linked to arguments about legal protection and political rights. In response to the crisis, the Legislative Assembly amended the Indian Penal Code to criminalize religious insults. Criticizing the new law, Indian newspapers published some of the first explicit calls to separate religion from secular politics. These self-styled secularists, however, portrayed Muslim fanaticism, rather than Hindu faith, as the principal threat. The controversy suggests that the demand to separate religion from law and politics often proved delusory. The article underlines the need to historicize binary divisions, including that between reasoned politics and religious sentiments, which continue to animate understandings of the relationship between secular liberalism and Islam today.
Cross-dressing by premodern women is often viewed as practical and instrumental (for example, women dressed as men to get jobs or to travel), while modern women's donning of male garb is usually interpreted as expressing contemporary queer identities. This article introduces a more flexible view of female cross-dressing in the distant past, using the cases of thirteen women cited for such activities in London records between 1450 and 1553. These cases are placed within both the broad context of European practice before the eighteenth century and the specific context of cross-dressing women in premodern London itself. The article argues, first, that cross-dressing by women is not a recent phenomenon, but instead has a scattered but fairly continuous history that stretches back centuries. Second, the article shows that female cross-dressing could be as playful and erotic as male cross-dressing; most of the eroticism of female transgressive dress was, however, linked to prostitution and male erotic desires. Third, it explores how London authorities sought to distance themselves from the perceived vice of female cross-dressing by characterizing the practice as foreign to their City and its culture. The appendix includes a full listing of all known cases of cross-dressing in London before 1603.
Irish History's 'revisionist' controversy, which raged from the 1970s until the 1990s, has generally been thought exhausted and ended. Yet it continues to be fought in relation to Ireland's 'war of independence' and especially to events in County Cork during that era. Much of the contention focuses on the role of sectarianism in that conflict, and on the work of the late Peter Hart. There have been several sharp recent critiques of Hart's methods and of the historiographical trends with which he was associated, and some equally robust counter-attacks. The exchanges have often been linked with wider political disagreements. The present article attempts to assess these debates, while also seeking to provide a wider context and a new perspective for them.
The role of places such as coffee-shops in the life and transformation of publics and public spheres in colonial Southeast Asia has received little attention from scholars of the humanities and social sciences. Using Singapore to address this gap in scholarship, this article offers a conceptual lens with which to view coffee shops in Southeast Asia. I argue that coffee shops in Singapore and in the region were 'domains of contentious publics', shaped and affected by the shifting constellations of their time. These were places in which two distinctive publics were to emerge ('lobby' and 'grapevine'), each of which helped to expand the limits of the colonial public sphere in an age of decolonization.