Leicester and Married Women Working:

John Goodwin and Henrietta O’Connor

2013-10-10 14.55.49As we have suggested (Goodwin and O’Connor 2013b) our first encounter with Pearl Jephcott was not a direct one. We were not aware of her books, beyond the occasional citation, and we were certainly unaware of the sheer breadth and depth of Jephcott’s contribution to British social science. We became interested in Jephcott be cause of her apparent links to Leicester via the Married Women Working research or what in Leicester became to be known locally as ‘the married women project’. Although not a well-known research collaboration there are tantalising references to this research in the literature. For example, as Smith (1961) reports:

The social science Dept. of the London School of Economics and the Sociology Dept. of the University of Leicester have together been collecting data designed among other things to test the stereotypes in industrial situations….Ours in Bermondsey at first based itself on the Peek Frean biscuit factory and the later extended into a study of family life in a local community. The Leicester study has so far based itself on the St. Margaret factory of N. Corah & Sons. (Smith 1961: 13).

The Richard Titmuss papers at the LSE reveal a shared project, led by Ilya Neustadt1, designed specially to offer a comparative study of the employment of women in a Leicester factory with those women who worked for Peek Frean.  Yet despite receiving a total of of £5986 over three years for a project, requests to DSIR extend the research time supported by Richard Titmuss, and a significant amount of fieldwork undertaken, the Leicester version of the married women project only delivered one paper (see Brown et al 1964). As with the ‘young worker project’ (see Goodwin and O’Connor 2005) the married women study was to enter the ether as yet another substantive piece of fieldwork that ultimately failed to deliver on its promise.  Yet it is the intersections between this failed project, the originally successful Bermondsey study and Jephcott’s innovative research designs that fascinates us the most. Moreover these projects, successful or otherwise, consider themes such as childcare, work life balance, women in management and so forth well before these become the central concern of sociology following the feminist critique of the 1970s and 1980s. As Oakely suggests, Jephcott studied working-class women at a time when the study of working-class culture meant studying men (Oakely 1989: 445). We are revisiting both variants of the married women project not least to ascertain the scope and extent of the Leicester project and to critically examine what Jephcott’s Married Women Working offers contemporary analyses of gender and work (see Goodwin and O’Connor 2013b).

Notes

[1] Although in reality it is likely that Richard Brown undertook all of the significant work on the Leicester version of the study.

References

Brown, R.K., Kirkby, J.M. and Taylor, K.F. (1964) The Employment of Married Women and the role of the Supervisory Role, British Journal of Industrial Relations, 2(1): 23-41.

Goodwin, J. and O’Connor, H. (2013a) Embodying Leisure: The Use of Images in Jephcott’s Time of Ones Own, LERN Occasional Papers No. 2

Goodwin, J. and O’Connor H. (2013b) The Employment of Married Women in a Leicester Factory 1959. LERN Occasional Papers No. 3 (forthcoming).

Goodwin, J. and O’Connor, H. (2006) Norbert Elias and the Lost Young Worker Project, Journal of Youth Studies, 9 (2), 159-173.

Jephcott, P. with Seear, N. and Smith, J.H. (1962) Married Women Working. London: Allen and Unwin

Oakley, A. (1989) Women’s Studies in British Sociology: To End at Our Beginning?  The British Journal of Sociology, 40(3): 442-470.

Smith, J.H. (1961) Managers and Married Women Workers, British Journal of Sociology, 12(1): 12-22.

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Embodying Leisure: The Use of Images in Pearl Jephcott’s ‘Time of One’s Own’.

Embodying Leisure – The Use of Images in Jephcott’s Time of Ones Own. LERN Occasional Papers No. 2 John Goodwin and Henrietta O’Connor, University of Leicester.

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. As such, 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 paper we focus on Pearl Jephcott (1900-1980) who in research career spanning forty year, but now largely forgotten, was at the forefront of methodological innovation in the 1960s. A full review of her work and contribution is beyond the scope of a single paper so we consider in more detail one of the most striking features of her sociological practice – the use of images in the book Time of One’s Own (1967).

Free download here: Occasional Papers No. 2 John Goodwin and Henrietta O’Connor, University of Leicester

Embodying Leisure: The Use of Images in Pearl Jephcott’s ‘Time of One’s Own’

Image

John Goodwin and Henrietta O’Connor

While the lives and works of many sociologists have now been well documented numerous sociologists at the ‘coal face’ of social research remain ignored. As such, beyond the contributions of those more ‘well known’ scholars, considerably more needs to be done to examine the history of our discipline to reassess the significant contributions made by ‘other’ researchers so that we may reappraise what can be learnt from these ‘pioneer scholars’. To this end we have just completed this occasional paper relating to the work of Pearl Jephcott (1900-1980). Jephcott had a research career spanning forty years and made significant contributions to the understanding of social life especially urban living, youth, gender and class. Jephcott was also at the forefront of innovation in social science research methodology during the 1960s. Yet despite the quality and depth of her work she is now largely forgotten save for the occasional citation. A full review of her work and contribution is beyond the scope of a single paper so we consider in more detail one of the most striking features of her sociological practice – the use of images in the book Time of One’s Own (1967).

As well as reading this paper the previously unpublished images relating to Time of One’s Own, that we rediscovered in 2011 the University of Glasgow archives, can be view at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/uofglibrary/sets/72157628015342067/

For further information see ‘Press Releases‘.