Gender, Youth, Community, Methodology and More:

A Symposium Celebrating the Life and Work of Pearl Jephcott

College Court Conference Centre

University of Leicester

July 9th 2015

Pearl Jephcott (1900-1980), in a research career spanning some forty years, made an outstanding contribution to British social science research. Her key works, including Girls Growing Up (1942), Rising Twenty (1948), Some Young People (1954), Married Women Working (1962), A Troubled Area: Notes on Notting Hill (1964), Time of One’s Own (1967) and Homes in High Flats (1971), alongside other reports and articles, paved the way for many of the subsequent developments that were to come in the sociology of gender, women’s’ studies, urban sociology, leisure studies and the sociology of youth. Moreover her work is fascinating as it is very detailed, extensive, methodologically sophisticated and is replete with originality, innovation and sociological imagination. Yet despite this Jephcott’s work has become neglected and relegated to second hand booksellers and ‘studies from the past’. Her legacy deserves more attention and should be more widely celebrated. This free one-day symposium attempts to do just that.

Bringing together researcher from a range of fields, this one-day symposium offers academics and postgraduate students the opportunity to learn more about recent research that revisits and builds upon the work of this social research pioneer. The day represents a unique chance for a dialogue around Pearl’s legacy and to hear how subsequent researchers have extended the rich vein of research she began in the 1940s. Pearl’s legacy cuts across disciplines and research paradigms: across social sciences and humanities, historical and contemporary data, primary and secondary sources, quantitative and qualitative approaches and, as such, we envisage this event will appeal to a wide audience.

This is a free conference with lunch included but pre-registration is required as places are limited.

9:30                Registration and Coffee

9.50                Introduction and Welcome.

10.00              Pearl Jephcott: Biographical Starting Points,

John Goodwin and Henrietta O’Connor, (University of Leicester)

10:30             Pearl Jephcott and Feminist Collaborative Research Practice

Lynn Abrams (University of Glasgow)

11:00              TEA BREAK

11:30              Pearl Jephcott, Married Women Working and the Sociology of Women in post-war Britain

Helen McCarthy (Queen Mary University of London)

12:00              (Re)Imagining Pearl Jephcott’s ‘Time of One’s Own’: Methodological challenges and theoretical insights from a comparative study of youth leisure and social change

Susan Batchelor and Lisa Whittaker, University of Glasgow

Alistair Fraser, University of Hong Kong (in absentia)

12.30              Revisiting ‘Homes in High Flats’: Its inception and Jephcott’s methodology in practice

Barry Hazley and Valerie Wright (University of Glasgow)

1pm – 2pm    LUNCH

14:00              The Early Years

Tony Jeffs (Durham University)

14.15              Jephcott, Bermondsey and the Anthropologists in 1958

Jon Lawrence (University of Cambridge)

14.30             From Nottingham to Notting Hill: Explorations of Delinquency

John Goodwin and Henrietta O’Connor, (University of Leicester)

15:00                         TEA BREAK

15.30             Round Table Discussion: What Next for Pearl Jephcott?

 

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Second Hand Books – Jephcott

For anyone interested  in marginalia the secondhand/used book market has to be an untapped source of material. The joy of buying used books is often more than just being able to get hold of an obscure text, a now deleted classic or whatever, its about the annotations, markings and notes that others add to the text that make those books interesting. For our research on Pearl Jephcott we, like others, have had to scour the secondhand book sellers to obtain copies of her works and we now have a fairly complete set of her books. Remarkably these books are quite ‘clean’ in terms of marginalia  – with two surprising exceptions. The version of the book A Troubled Area we have appears to be the version Pearl herself donated to the University of Glasgow library in 1964. We can tell this given her signature, date plus the GUL book plate on the inside cover. We also – quite by chance – purchased a copy of Girls Growing Up that Jephcott had autographed in 1942. A form of fateful(?) marginalia we are more than pleased to have.

Inside the front cover of  A Troubled Area.

PJ

Revisiting Norbert Elias’s Sociology of Community

We have a longstanding interest in Elias’s sociology of community. Here are a couple of links to papers that we have contribution to/written on this subject. The first is Angela Perulli’s Italian translation of Towards a Theory of Communities (1974) that contains some introductory notes on the original essay by John Goodwin. The second is paper by Henrietta O’Connor and John Goodwin exploring the ‘community restudies’ they are involved in.

Verso una teoria delle comunità (2013)

http://www.cambio.unifi.it/upload/sub/Numero6/16_Elias.pdf

Revisiting Norbert Elias’s Sociology of Community: Learning from the Leicester Re-Studies (2012) – O’Connor and Goodwin
Abstract: Since 2001 we have been engaged in a re-study of three linked Leicester projects: The Employment of Married Women in a Leicester Factory (1959–1962), The Adjustment of Young Workers to Work Situations and Adult Roles (1962–1964) and The Established and the Outsiders (1965). The three projects contain a number of striking overlaps, not least Elias’s formulation of communities as figurations through which communal behavioural standards are established, learned and maintained. Whether in the different Zones of Winston Parva, or in the large hosiery factories of Leicester, people learned the self-control of drives and affects ‘according to the pattern and extent of socially given drive and affect regulation’ of that time and that community. In this paper we outline the background to the three re-studies and link them to Elias’s work on community and the broader canon of community studies. We then consider methodological lessons learnt from our re-studies – in particular, the practical process of re-studies, the definitional problems of what constitutes a re-study, and the value of visual images and walking the field. We conclude by reflecting upon the analytical promise of community re-studies.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-954X.2012.02095.x/abstract

Pearl Jephcott: The Legacy of a Forgotten Sociological Research Pioneer

Our paper on the legacy of Pearl Jephcott is available online first:

http://soc.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/05/22/0038038514530536.abstract

Abstract
While the lives and works of many sociologists have now been well documented, numerous sociologists at the ‘coal face’ of social research remain ignored. Consequently, beyond the contributions of those more ‘well-known’ scholars, considerably more needs to be done to examine the history of our discipline and reassess the significant contributions made by ‘other’ researchers so that we may reappraise what can be learnt from these ‘pioneer scholars’. In this article we focus on Pearl Jephcott (1900–1980), who in a research career spanning 40 years, but now largely forgotten, was at the forefront of methodological innovation in the 1960s. We offer an introduction to her work, focusing on questions such as why were her methods innovative and why is she now ignored within sociology?

 

Archival Research

In our research we have found archives to be an essential source of data and material. Indeed, for our restudy of Elias’s Young Worker Project and for our on going work on Pearl Jephcott, archival research has been central to all we have done. Archives, although used by some social scientists, could be used to greater effect – especially in times of reduced research funding where making best use of data and material that already exists seems to be the order of the day. Our Jephcott research featured, in the University of Glasgow’s contribution to the UK Explore Your Archive awareness campaign. 

“Our discovery of the illustrations from the Time of One’s Own project, hidden amongst other papers, was one of those truly eureka moments that is only possible when working in archives. As crisp and as clear as the day they were created, the images of young people at work and leisure revealed Pearl Jepchott’s rich legacy of immaculately detailed social science research. The life and work of this once forgotten social researcher, a true pioneer and innovator, at once became available for all to explore and celebrate” – John Goodwin

Find out more at:

http://www.gla.ac.uk/services/archives/collections/explore/

http://www.exploreyourarchive.org/

GUAS-Explore-Poster-Researcher-Goodwin-V2

Upcoming blogs: The works of Pearl Jephcott

Following previous blogs on the works of Pearl Jephcott and the interst this has generated, madeinleicester.com will be publishing more blogs on this subject in 2014/2015. Look out for three blogs that will be published here and via our twitter account @mi_leicester :

Upcoming Blogs with accompanying images:

‘Parents at Home’ in Jephcott’s Homes in High Flats (image 1)

The Social Background of Delinquency – Jepchott and Carter. (image 2)

Jepchott’s Some Young People (image 3)

Image

2013-10-29 14.42.16

‘Parents at Home’ in Jephcott’s Homes in High Flats

The Social Background of Delinquency – Jepchott and Carter.

2013-10-28 14.02.36

Jepchott’s Some Young People