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History after HobsbawmWriting the Past for the Twenty-First Century$
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John H. Arnold, Matthew Hilton, and Jan Rüger

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198768784

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198768784.001.0001

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Five Swans over Littleport

Five Swans over Littleport

Fenland Folklore and Popular Memory, c.1810–1978

(p.225) 12 Five Swans over Littleport
History after Hobsbawm

Andy Wood

Oxford University Press

This chapter uses fenland folklore as a way of thinking about the importance of the local. It argues against grand narratives of globalization, to suggest instead that for many working people in the past it was in the context of the small community that social relations were made real and popular culture was felt and sensed. The piece therefore offers a corrective to current—elitist and statist—emphases upon ‘Big History’ and suggests instead that, if social historians are to understand the lived experience of working people in the past, it is necessary to return to local worlds and small communities.

Keywords:   fenland, folklore, local, community, popular culture

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