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Grant number: FA-58102-15

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James Vernon
University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, CA 94704-5940)

The Economic Transformation of Everyday Life in Late 20th-Century Britain

In 1963 E.P.Thompson's "The Making of the English Working Class" suggested a new working class was made in Britain through its experience of political and economic exclusion in the early nineteenth century. That politics of class remained dominant in the 1960s. My new research project explores how a new type of historical subject--Homo Economicus--was made in the late twentieth century that largely displaced the politics and identity of class. Homo Economicus understood the world economistically and took responsibility for their lives as individuals in terms of costs, benefits and investments in futures. To say that Homo Economicus was the product of neoliberalism is not to say very much given the confusion over the term. Whereas most scholars see neoliberalism as a set of ideologies, economic policies or political programs imposed from above, I want to explore how it was built from below through a series of practices that transformed everyday life.

Project fields:
British History; Cultural History; European History

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$29,400 (approved)
$25,200 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2015 – 12/31/2015