The Industrial Revolution Transformed British Popular Culture, Discuss.

1905 words - 8 pages

The industrial revolution transformed British popular culture, discuss.The rural way of life in Britain, seemed very secure before industrialisation. The set cultural and social values that were in place were set deep into tight-knot communities which thrived upon tradition and mutual understanding between classes. But with the industrial age came changes. With both shifts in terms of demographic location and with attitudes towards and between classes and social groups, the 'working man' found himself in a very new and diverse scenario which was a phenomenon in the western world. I will be discussing the conditions of both rural and urban popular culture and how the industrial revolution came about changing popular culture in Britain.Rural popular culture was simplistic and traditional. There was a big emphasis on the church and the church calendar. The fact that rural life was based around farming and agriculture meant that the seasonal shift in crops and the agricultural calendar and lifestyle was also a huge effect on people residing in rural England. Working times would revolve more around when the work was finished, rather than a particular time and time off for weekends, vacations and obviously bank holidays were not heard of.Cultural practices that were evident in rural popular culture would probably be deemed Neanderthal or ever Barbaric by today's values. Activities or sports seemed to involve either killing animals, watching animals kill each other or hurting one another'The object of each gamester in this play, as in cudgelling, is to... fetch blood from the others head...taking a little skin from his pericranium, or drawing a stream from his nose, or knocking out a few of his teeth'From Robert Malcolmson, Popular Recreations in English Society p43. The more tame activities and pass-times involved races, drinking or smoking competitions, eating and drinking, horse-racing, boxing and dancing. There seemed to be a relaxed and laid back attitude towards promiscuity, intoxication and violent crime in the name of sport.The social boundaries were very fluid. Although class differences were evident in rural popular culture, many cultural practices such as gambling and betting were shared by different classes and there seemed to be a smooth line between the working classes and the 'ruling class'. There began to emerge a small middle class which complained about lack of etiquette and moral in partaking in such crude activities, but they were very much in the minority.The coming of the industrial age had a huge effect on rural popular culture and this is probably the biggest factor towards it's transformation and eventual demise. As the factories and warehouses rose, they drew an influx of workers from the country to the big cities, looking to work in the new industries. There was a growing 'push' effect from the country to the city. Workers in the country were being promised jobs in factories offering new and fair pay and conditions and some...

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