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Courses / Modules / HIST1210 Peace and Love? Britain in the 1960s

Peace and Love? Britain in the 1960s

When you'll study it
Semester 2
CATS points
ECTS points
Level 4
Module lead
Charlotte Riley
Academic year

Module overview

The 1960s are remembered in Britain as a time of dramatic change: political reforms, economic growth, social shifts and cultural freedoms. Sex, drugs, rock and roll; tie-dye, mini skirts and the Beatles. But the 1960s weren’t swinging for everyone. Some people welcomed these changes, but some people resented them: and for some people, life didn’t get better at all. Although many people experienced the decade as one of comfortable prosperity, this masked a decline in the competitiveness of the British economy against its European rivals. Strikes were increasingly common as workers tried to fight for better conditions, and the ‘rediscovery’ of poverty led to panic about inequality, with rising levels of homelessness and unemployment. The end of the British empire led to anxiety about Britain’s place in the world, and increasing levels of immigration led to a rise in racist politics that bitterly divided communities. Women enjoyed more freedoms than before, but still felt ignored and oppressed by male-dominated politics and society. In Northern Ireland, the divided sectarian politics erupted into the Troubles by the end of the decade. And British young people might have enjoyed listening to the Rolling Stones in their university halls; but they were also anxious about the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and their future in a turbulent and uncertain world. This module will explore the complex contradictions that made up Britain in the 1960s.