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A History of Everyday Life in Twentieth-Century Scotland

Edited by Lynn Abrams, Callum G Brown

Hardback i (Printed to Order)
eBook (PDF) i

Over the twentieth century Scots' lives changed in fast, dramatic and culturally significant ways. By examining their bodies, homes, working lives, rituals, beliefs and consumption, this volume exposes how the very substance of everyday life was composed, tracing both the intimate and the mass changes that the people endured. Using novel perspectives and methods, chapters range across the experiences of work, art and death, the way Scots conceived of themselves and their homes, and the way the 'old Scotland' of oppressive community rules broke down from mid-century as the country reinvented its everyday life and culture.

This volume brings together leading cultural historians of twentieth-century Scotland to study the apparently mundane activities of people's lives, traversing the key spaces where daily experience is composed to expose the controversial personal and national politics that ritual and practice can generate.

Key features:

  • Contains an overview of the material changes experienced by Scots in their everyday lives during the course of the century
  • Focuses on some of the key areas of change in everyday experience, from the way Scots spent their Sundays to the homes in which they lived, from the work they undertook to the culture they consumed and eventually the way they died
  • Pays particular attention to identity as well as experience


Chapter 1, Lynn Abrams and Callum G. Brown, Introduction
Chapter 2: Callum G. Brown, Charting everyday experience
Chapter 3: Lynn Abrams and Linda Fleming, From scullery to conservatory: everyday life in the Scottish home
Chapter 4: Lynn Jamieson, Changing intimacy in the twentieth century: seeking and forming couple relationships
Chapter 5: Arthur McIvor, The realities and narratives of paid work: the Scottish workplace in the twentieth century
Chapter 6: Hilary Young, Being a man: everyday masculinities in twentieth-century Scotland
Chapter 7: Callum G. Brown, Spectacle, restraint and the twentieth-century Sabbath wars: the 'everyday' Scottish Sunday
Chapter 8: Steven Sutcliffe, After 'the religion of my fathers': the quest for composure in the 'post-presbyterian' self
Chapter 9: Angela Bartie, Culture in the everyday: art and society in twentieth-century Scotland
Chapter 10: John Stewart, Sickness and health in twentieth-century Scotland
Chapter 11: E.W. McFarland, Passing time: death in twentieth-century Scotland.

About the Author

Lynn Abrams is Professor of Modern History and Head of the School of Humanities at the University of Glasgow. She has published widely on Scottish gender history and was convenor of Women’s History Scotland 2008-13. Her many publications include Oral History Theory (2010), Myth and Materiality in a Woman’s World: Shetland 1800-2000 (2005) and Gender in Scottish History Since 1700 (2006).

Callum G. Brown is Professor of Religious and Cultural History at the University of Dundee. He is a past editor of the Journal of Scottish Historical Studies.


In any number of ways, this is a welcome and stimulating book. As one would expect, each chapter is informed by deep familiarity with both the secondary literature and a wide range of primary materials, making it a valuable jumping-off point for further research (something which is further facilitated by the ubiquitous lists of supplementary reading). Moreover, the book is heavily infused with an interdisciplinary ethos. In a number of chapters, conventional historical scholarship overlaps with sociology and cultural studies. Even more striking is the broad array of methodologies on display.
- Allan Kennedy, University of Stirling, History Scotland
Here is a very welcome addition to the EUP series of volumes, edited by Chris Whatley and Elizabeth Foyster, A History of Everyday Life in Scotland... It will find its way on to undergraduate and postgraduate reading lists, and hopefully on to many other twentyfirst century bookshelves.
- Jim Philips, University of Glasgow, Journal of Scottish Historical Studies
The cuiver haes a braw art-deco postcaird o the open-air soumin pool at Saltcoats, wi happy smiling fowk in their 1920's soumin costumes, beamin oot at us. It seems an eemage o a Scotland that wis luikin forrit tae a brichter an better future? Lynn Abrams an Callum G. Brown are tae be heichly congratulatit oan thier haurd wark in producing this series o buiks. Ah wunner whit the historians a hunner year frae nou wull mak o 21st century Scotland? An whether the faces o fowk o today wull kythe tae be luikin as optimistically til the future? Ah howp sae!
- Rab Wilson, Lallans 78

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