'Different and better times'? History, progress and inequality

Robinson, Emily (2015) 'Different and better times'? History, progress and inequality. In: Ramos Pinto, Pedro and Taithe, Bertrand (eds.) The impact of history? histories at the beginning of the 21st century. Routledge, London. ISBN 9781138775107

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Abstract

This chapter examines the connection between the telling of history and the perpetuation of inequalities. It attempts to unpick the paradox that a popular sense of progress from unequal past to more equal future co-exists with the acceptance of increasing levels of social, racial and economic inequality in the political present.

It examines narratives of the British past as presented in ‘living history’ TV shows, heritage sites, and political discourse to show that although a recognition of the structural inequalities of the past is now mainstream, this is predicated on the fact that they are past. Contemporary inequalities are excluded from this kind of analysis and therefore continue to be attributed to individual misfortune or personal failings. Moreover, this discourse masks the not-quite-acknowledged belief that inequality was a driver of historical progress and that we have now gone ‘too far’ in breaking it down.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Politics
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Emily Robinson
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2014 08:21
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2015 11:32
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/49672
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