Penguin Books and Political Change

Penguin Books and Political Change Britain's Meritocratic Moment, 1937-1988

Hardback (20 Aug 2020) | English

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Synopsis

Founded in 1935 by a young publisher disillusioned with the class prejudices of the interwar publishing trade, Penguin Books set out to make good books available to all. The 'Penguin Specials', a series of current affairs books authored by leading intellectuals and politicians, embodied its democratising mission. Published over fifty years and often selling in vast quantities, these inexpensive paperbacks helped to shape popular ideas about subjects as varied as the welfare state, homelessness, social class and environmental decay. Using the 'Specials' as a lens through which to view Britain's changing political landscape, Dean Blackburn tells a story about the ideas that shaped post-war Britain. Between the late-1930s and the mid-1980s, Blackburn argues, Britain witnessed the emergence and eclipse of a 'meritocratic moment', at the core of which was the belief that a strong relationship between merit and reward would bring about social stability and economic efficiency. Equal opportunity and professional expertise, values embodied by the egalitarian aspirations of Penguin's publishing ethos, would be the drivers of social and economic progress. But as the social and economic crises of the 1970s took root, many contemporary thinkers and politicians cast doubt on the assumptions that informed meritocratic logic. Britain's meritocratic moment had passed.

About the Publisher

Manchester University Press

Manchester University Press

Founded in 1904, MUP is the third largest University Press in England and publishes monographs and textbooks by authors from all over the world. Currently publishing 145 new books a year and managing a portfolio of 14 journals as well as an extensive backlist of over 1000 titles, the Press sells more than 150,000 books each year to a global audience. The Press exports some 50 percent of output to more than 60 countries using representatives in Britain, Ireland and Europe and agents elsewhere including North America, Canada and Australia.

Book information

ISBN: 9781526129284
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Imprint: Manchester University Press
Pub date:
DEWEY: 338.7610705
DEWEY edition: 23
Language: English
Number of pages: 296
Weight: 552g
Height: 216mm
Width: 138mm
Spine width: 30mm