This introductory chapter discusses the theme of this book, which is about socio-cultural change in Britain between 1940 and 1970. It examines how social science sampling methods associated with letter writing, questionnaires, interviews, and surveys mined down to reveal mundane, ordinary life, in miniature, and how such research was implicated in a broader process of building a modern, rational, post-imperial nation. The chapter shows how the deployment of new research techniques involved the remaking of politics and culture, notably as the arts and the humanities were increasingly demarcated away from the everyday.
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