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Benjamin Jones


  • 3.31 Arts

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Personal profile


I am a social historian of modern Britain who focuses on classed experiences and identities, urban history and the politics of race, sexuality and social memory. My interdisciplinary approach was shaped by post-graduate study at the University of Sussex and post-doctoral work at the University of Manchester's Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change. My monograph  The Working Class in Mid-Twentieth-Century England was positively reviewed in Sociology, Geography and Urban Studies journals as well as the usual History ones. One reviewer thought I was really a sociologist which I took as a compliment, although I'm not sure it was meant as one. 

I have a passion for cultural studies and its precursor Mass Observation and have co-authored research on Humphrey Jennings & Raymond Williams, community development and the New left and queerness in the work of Colin MacInnes and Ray Gosling.

I co-edit Bloomsbury's Mass Observation Critical Series with Jennifer J. Purcell and would love to hear from people with book proposals. One of the great pleasures of my time at UEA has been co-teaching the module 'The Writing of History' with my LDC colleague Matthew Taunton to students (mainly) doing joint honours in Literature and History. 

Current Research
I have two projects underway at the moment. The first is a social and cultural history of the working class since the 1970s, with a particular focus on football cultures, acid house and rave. The second uses mass observation directives from the 1980s alongside archived social surveys to analyse the culture and politics of the middle-classes in Britain up to Brexit. 

Teaching Interests

I mainly teach British history at undergraduate and MA levels. I also teach twentieth century US history in the context of the social and political movements of the 1960s and 1970s and I co-teach close reading, source analysis and cultural studies to students in LDC. I think the history of the island of Ireland is particularly important for our students to understand and try to teach as much of it as I can. I have taught third-year special subjects on the 'long' 1960s and on the 1980s.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions