Everyday leisure and northernness in Mass Observation’s Worktown 1937–1939

Snape, Robert ORCID: 0000-0003-4229-0926 (2016) Everyday leisure and northernness in Mass Observation’s Worktown 1937–1939. Journal for Cultural Research, 20 (1). pp. 31-44. ISSN 1479-7585

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Official URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rcuv20/20/1


Much leisure history deals with specific forms of activity or with the macro social and cultural patterns which mark leisure behaviours. However, as historians have turned to the micro-history of the everyday, individuals have become visible as producers and not only consumers of leisure. Mass Observation’s Worktown archive offers unique insight to the leisure lives of Bolton’s working class population between 1937 and 1939. Bound to the culture of the cotton industry and the spatial confines of Bolton, leisure served to form overlapping identities around work and neighbourhood. Everyday leisure accommodated mass cultural forms, while also remaining part of a local northern culture which grew from its industrial environment. The ‘up-close’ nature of the history of the everyday afforded by the Worktown archive provides new insights to leisure practices which become defined not only in terms of activity, but also involve conviviality, conversation and custom. This article argues that leisure was not so much a field of resistance but a sphere in which ordinary people were able to create their own leisure spaces through customary practice, language and an adaptation of employer-based facilities. Everyday working-class leisure was not confined to an illusory escapism of passive consumption but was active and engaged, forming social contexts, shared places and communal activities which helped form a collective consciousness and a sense of social and cultural identity.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in special issue of Journal for Cultural Research: Northernness, Northern Culture and Northern Narratives, on 5th February 2016, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/14797585.2015.1134058
Uncontrolled Keywords: leisure, everyday, Mass Observation, identity, anthropology, history
Divisions: University of Bolton Research Centres > Centre for Worktown Studies
Depositing User: Tracey Gill
Date Deposited: 14 Jul 2017 08:18
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2019 13:22
Identification Number: 10.1080/14797585.2015.1134058
URI: http://ubir.bolton.ac.uk/id/eprint/1157

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