by E.P. Thompson

A companion volume to The Making of The English Working Class, extending the studies there to include the examination of plebeian culture, working class consciousness, and industrial life.

E. P. Thompson's main thesis is that in 18th century England there was a tacit agreement of social behaviour and stability between the gentry and the poor. Both were allowed to take certain measures to achieve their aims--the gentry did it via the parliament, and the poor via civil disobedience. Most interestingly, however, was the symbolic struggle, or cultural struggle--what E. P. Thompson calls the theatre and counter-theatre. The theatre meant the social attitudes--the gentry had its wigs, its fancy outfits, and its arrogant attitude, and the poor had its popular culture. This was a way to channel power and discontent through cultural manifestations.

Contents: Introduction; The Patrician and the Plebs; Custom, Law and Common Right; The Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the 18th Century; Time, Work discipline and Industrial Capitalism; The Sale of Wives; Rough Music; index

"meticulously researched, elegantly argued and deeply humane." New York Times Book Review

"This book signals the return to historical writing of one of the most eloquent, powerful and independent voices of our time. At his best he is capable of a passionate, sardonic eloquence which is quite unequalled."
The Observer.

ISBN. 978-0-85036-697-6

547 pages and 32 illustrations.

First Merlin Press paperback edition