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A study of working class self education in England1903 - 1939

Tubman, Robert Henry (1988) A study of working class self education in England1903 - 1939. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This is a study of the autodidactic tradition in a working class community focussing upon the life history of Ernest Cartwright, a signalman (1883-1945). Using his journals, which have hitherto been unpublished, an attempt has been made to demonstrate the way in which academic sponsors of a liberal education at Oxford University articulated an ideology that was embraced by politically moderate sections of the Labour Movement. Educational developments were inextricably linked to the political domain. Through the machinery of the Workers’ Educational Association, working class activists were able to secure an education that would help promote social justice. Eschewing knowledge for its own sake and vocationalism, Cartwright educated himself so as to perform his ‘uses and duties' in the world, that is, as an active member of various working class institutions. The positive influence of religion upon the burgeoning Labour Movement is examined. The notion of a ‘calling’ was particularly important: the individual felt compelled to develop God-given talents for the benefit of others. Moreover, a social reading of the Bible provided a moral basis for a critique of capitalism. Such a critique paved the way for the development of ethical socialism. This shared greater common ground with New Liberalism than with historical materialism. It assumed that the interests of Capital and Labour were complementary and that the State was a moral agency redistributing resources to the disadvantaged and promoting equality of opportunity. The Christian background of those in the W.E.A./L.P. sought a union of labour and learning so as to promote fellowship. The high water-mark of educational liberalism was the Final Report 1919. The journals indicate the Weltenschauung of a 'Liberal-Labour' man, and how the events of the 1920s and 30s undermined expectations regarding a New Era.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Education
Thesis Date:1988
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Feb 2013 13:43

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