Subterranean Traditions Rising: The Year that Enid Blyton Died


Ken Plummer, University of Essex

Edited more and published as: 2009 ‘Outsiders, Deviants and Countercultures: Subterranean Tribes and Queer Imaginations’  in Gurminder Bhambra and Ipek Demir 1968 in Retrospect: Amnesia, Alterity. Palgrave

We cannot make heaven on earth. What we can do instead is, I believe, to make life a little less terrible and a little less unjust in every generation. A good deal can be achieved in this way.  Karl Popper


At the ‘1968 Conference’, I presented an argument in four stages: a lyric, a slide show, an auto/ethnography, and a paper. There was too much material to present on this occasion; and there is far too much too present in this symposium. I have chosen here, therefore, to provide the lyric, the auto/ethnography and a few comments. The slide show which accompanied the lyric (in Power Point), and the full paper (10,000 words) can be accessed on my website at:


So these are the times and the tales of our lives.
Contested. Contingent. Creative and thriving.
Progressing. Regressing. And usually surviving.
Incorrigibly plural. Intransigently vast.
These are the tales of how we order our past,
the moments we might have as the futures unfold,
the hopes for the world if our visions are bold.
These movements, these changes that never will end,
and years that fly by, and the moments we spend;
The stories we tell and the memories we mend
So here is a year overflowing with symbols,
effervescent and striking.
A world in the making, a world for our liking.
Yes.These are the times and the tales of our lives.

So this is the year that Enid Blyton had died.
Poor Noddy’s demise – and the fabulous five.
Three and a half billion were struggling to live.
As spacemen and lunar trips has so much to give,
we saw transplant surgery and the strength of Apartheid.
In Africa, as usual, the millions had died
Famine in Biafra and Asian Kenyans to flee
This was also the time of the new liberty.
And the cold war hung in the heat of the night
as the tanks poured into Prague to scare all in their sight.
In Vietnam, many were killed in My Lai;
While the Cultural Revolution led millions to die
The Pope told us all not to use contraception-
whilst nudity in Hair won a world wide reception
Warhol was shot, Martin Luther King Dead
Enoch Powell raged in his rivers of  red .
Then, as now and throughout all the times.
humanity  keeps moving along  with its crimes.
Yes, these are the horrors and joys that we make in our lives

But these were also the times of the student protests
as marches and sit ins unleashed civil unrests.
The whole world was watching and  media pervaded
as universities  grew and then got invaded.
Across all the globe the students were rising
and the stances they took refused compromising.
In France, Marxist situationism rose up from the floor,
US students rose up  against the poor and the war
In Italy, Turin and Trento bloody battles engaged,
and Mexico city had students enraged.
While Warwick Limited signposted the future of money,
Of big companies, big industry and something quite funny;
Yes this was the start of the university market
to turn learning and knowledge into a measurable target.
And just when I got my degree, to set us all free,
Discursive deconstruction came looking for me.
Yes this was the time of bourgeois ideology
And that consensual nonsense we called sociology
Parsonian drivel was mocked with the jeers
Whilst Marxism rose up and was given three cheers.
Banned in China, the left was so right.
Denying again the darkness of night.
Banned in China, the West had it wrong
Wear Mao Tse Tung Uniforms and start to feel strong.
The culture and its Maoist revolution
Showed communism was no easy solution
We made Marx our hero and wore Maoist dress
A coming crisis was everyone’s guess.
And a paradigm shift to get out of the mess.
Mundane consensus became radical orthodoxy
A coming crisis in Western sociology
Consensus and conflicts, and action and structure
The clichés of a legitimation crisis

So this was the march of the sixty eight dreamers.
Anarchistic believers and socialist schemers.
The calls that they made were stark and dead clear.
Post colonial anger began to appear.
End war. Kill Capitalism. And stop the technology.
And bring to an end bourgeois sociology.
The pedagogy of the oppressed was liberated here.
The politics of experience was set into into gear.
The History Man and the NDC would appear.
Yes these were the days of the subaltern rising.
Of marginal women and men now arriving.
Subterannean tribes now leaving the zoo,
Bohemians and radicals, delinquents too,
Outsiders and strangers with different views-
spreading the news of the rights now to choose.
Empowering voices. And plausible choices.
Dominant hegemonies once taken for granted.
Subterannean traditions now queering the slanted.
Active and pushing and changing the spacing;
Ideas from the past must now need replacing.
When everyday life shatters each second of living,
the margins merging, the queers unforgiving.
Greenpeace and Greenham and Gay Liberation,
fighting back for a much better nation.
In a world that they had never ever made

Migrants of time, generational divides
Holding on to their places, protecting their spaces,
defending their races. The ones before
they can hardly see. The ones to come will just disagree-
rejecting and fighting, resisting the new.
Delinquent, declining and gone to the dogs.
Each generation unique and then lost.
Each generation is lost at its cost –
as each generation must do it again,
and face all the pain- all over again.
As they bump and they jump and they thump
on the old – and the new.

So these are the times and the tales of our lives.
As the walls came down and capitalism spread
to lands where before it had been hopelessly dead.
Vietnam may have ended but the wars kept on going.
The deaths of the millions kept flowing and flowing.
Our lap tops and I pods and gadgetry gizmos,
our Starbucks and  Googles and terrible quiz shows,
our markets and shopping where all  lives could flourish
with sushi and dim-sum and nachos to nourish.
Inequalities widened with billionaire fools,
and the life of the mind must now follow rules
provided by managers -who run all our schools.
We live with RAE.  And are all made professors.
We lead lives over run by quality assessors.
So these are the times and the tales of our lives.

Spectacular tales and multiple voices
Effervescent moments and plausible choices
Mosaics and patchworks  and Kalaediscopes playing
Grand designs total structures collapsed and decaying
And linear lines fragment into fractures
Symbolic, shambolic, semiotic, systolic.
This is the march of the times

And these are the dreams for the rest of the time.
Utopias imagined will never arrive
But the dream and the drama will help us survive
And everyday life will keep us alive
Cultivate capabilities and the rights of all people
Weaken the deepening of all social inequalities.
Be cosmopolitan and live with our differences
And love one another or die.

Yes these are the times and the tales of our lives.
Contested. Contingent. Creative. And thriving.
Progressing. Regressing. And sometimes surviving.
Incorrigibly plural. Intransigently vast.
These are the tales of how we order our past.
And the moments we might have as futures unfold.
And the hopes of the world if our visions are bold.
The movements, the changes that never will end;
The years that fly by and the moments we spend,
The stories we tell and the memories we mend,
The chances and whispers and dreams we construct,
World changin’ and movin’: worlds won  and worlds lost.
These are the times and the tales of our lives


Now, in 2008, I am a retired Professor of Sociology. For the past forty years I have been teaching, thinking and writing about the stories we tell of society- and especially our queer and sexual lives. I am what I call a critical humanist – which means I like to focus on real embodied human beings living their everyday lives through pain and joy. I am interested in embodied humanly made social worlds, the interactive webs and negotiated orders we creatively weave them into, and their linkages with wider historical social patterns (structures). I believe that everything we do as humans ( and sociologists) is saturated with creativity and action, language and materiality, ethics and power, ceaseless change and contingency, and multifarious plurality.  I see societies as heaving webs of ever changing stories and human life as always being on the boil. There is nothing fixed, static, essential or tidily coherent about any of it. Sociology always fails when it over-generalises. Epistemologically, we can only ever have partial perspectives, stories, accounts of this world; but we need to make them as good as they can be. Human beings are always engaged in continuous permutations of action. I worry that sociology can be driven by too much form, too much method, too much theory, too much abstraction. And not enough precarious human social life.

So now go back forty years. To 1968. My life. Here is the start of an auto/ethnography. There is absolutely nothing straightforward about this, and it stands in a very odd relation to the ‘events of 1968’, most of which had no involvement with student lives, let alone ‘the student conflicts.’ I was 21 coming on 22. I was in the middle of my ‘coming out as gay’ stage of life. In the UK – and my story has to be primarily a UK story- 1968 was a year after the Sexual Offences Act which made homosexuality a little more legal than before; and 1968 was two years before the London Gay Liberation Front was formed at the LSE and where I was to be very involved. It may have been a harbinger of the Gay and Lesbian Movement, and one of the most critical moments of my life. But it did not exist in 1968. I had however, during Roy Jenkins’s significant tenure as Home Secretary, been released from being a criminal. (In 1973, I was also going to be pronounced as part of the non sick queer by the World Health Organisation! For the likes of me, then, it was a good time).

After graduating in 1967, I started work first a ‘Careers Officer; and then as a Community Service Volunteer in Ilkeston, Derbyshire. In October, I began my PhD (on gay life after the law change) at the LSE, teaching at Enfield College (soon to become Middlesex Polytechnic), and living at home with my mum and dad (but soon to rent a small flat in Marble Arch- where I also worked part time as an usher at the Odeon Marble Arch – home at that time of big screen blockbusters like Hello Dolly, West Side Story and the reworked Gone With the Wind!). I had come out into the gay scene and gay life in and around Soho and the trendy Carnaby Street of 1966 when I was 20.My first gay sex came through buying a porn magazine in Soho, writing to the publisher, meeting him and his friends and being taken to a gay bar – The A & B, in Wardour Street (later I learned it was more popularly known as the Arsehole and Buggery!). I volunteered and worked at the Homosexual Law Reform Society Office – the Albany Trust- at 32 Shaftesbury Avenue, where I met Anthony Grey and the early law reformers (Indeed, I did several small scale research studies with/for them).

My intellectual mentors at that time were limited. As an undergraduate I was taught by Stan Cohen, Roy Bailey, Jeanne Gregory, Adrienne Mead, Alf Holt, Tessa Blackstone, Rachel Parry and Jock Young- a lively group of renegades newly graduated from the LSE. I met Michael Schofield, a free lance researcher who had published three key texts on gay life during the 1950’s and 1960’s as well as a popular book of the time (1966) called The Sexual Behaviour of Young People. In 1968, I started my PhD with firstly David Downes and then primarily with Paul Rock, both of whom have recently retired from the LSE. I was on the edge of the National Deviancy Conference – which in the UK was the most radical group of sociological thinkers and activists at that time. Stan, Paul and Jock were my mentors and through them I was introduced to symbolic interactionism – especially in the work of Howard S.Becker, Erving Goffman, John Gagnon and William Simon, and Herbert Blumer (though his book Symbolic Interactionism was not published till 1969, when it made a huge and lasting impact on me).

Theatrically, this was the year of Hair, The Boys in the Band, and Hello Dolly. The Sound of Music topped the LP charts. It was the time of the Supremes, Motown, Simon and Garfunkel and Dusty Springfield. I never liked the Rolling Stones much but I did see the Beatles. I suppose I was fashion conscious, a bit of a trendy little mover with platform shoes, wide flairs, bright colours and  very long curly hair. I guess I was a political liberal; my mates in the academic world were all members of the leftist groups, and I aspired to be one of them- but secretly I had my doubts. Marxism became my intellectual ghost in the cupboard- I have spent most of my life in fact wanting to be a Marxist, and not quite being able to make it: intellectually, politically or emotionally! Being gay made me a young engaged person and I was definitely on the side of all the liberal causes of that time with a very strong left leaning. (Appendix One provides a listing of key cultural items in my life).

So as my story started, what were the stories of others at this time? What did these human beings –my species, three and half billion at that time (it is now nearly double that) – make of the year 1968? Many, many stories were told. As ever. There is never the unified story that some sociologists so desperately seek. It is easy to collapse into a narrative of student rebellion and the clichéd stories that have been published. As ever. But very different and multiple stories could be told. It was in fact the year that Enid Blyton died – the cosy middle class author  who had shaped the childhood worlds of millions of children with Noddy and the Famous Five, the sixth best selling author of all time with thousands of  translations. In a way, the end of post war middle class suburban safety.  For those in Sicily – it was the year of a major earthquake and Mount Etna doing its usual damage: hundreds died, thousands were injured and all lived daily in the glory and fear of the eruptions of Mount Etna.  In Africa, war torn Biafra came into being in Southern Nigeria for a scant three years: probably a million died of something we now call genocide (but the word did not exist then) from starvation, war and neglect. Biafra became the by word for human suffering. And thousands of exiled Asian Kenyans fled to England –to swim into Enoch Powell’s Rivers of Blood. It was the time of the cold war – of Capitalist Amerika and communist Russia and China. In Prague, some 165,000 soldiers and 4,600 Russian tanks rolled over the Czechs to stop ‘socialism with a human face’. In the USA, Martin Luther King was assassinated on my birthday; Robert Kennedy a month later: all the wailing and the weeping and the wondering. A few sociologists in England dressed up in Mao Tse Tung uniforms whilst in China, Mao pushed forward his Great Leaping Cultural Revolution purging and slaughtering the millions. For a few it meant that for the first time a life could be saved by what has come to be known as transplant surgery. For a few others it meant flying to the moon and photographing the earth. For most, everywhere, it meant the daily dangers, drudgery and joys of life: work, love and play. Maybe  it was a special year with special stories? No: ‘history’ is like that: what of 1066? Or 1588? Or 1789? Or 1914? Or 1939? Or 1989? Or 2001? Or anytime? Time flies. Life moves. Stories are told. People come. People go. Nothing changes. Everything changes.

And what was 1968 not? I knew nothing of AIDS, Muslims, McDonalds, Chanel Four or colour TV. I did not buy a computer or a video till sixteen years later. I had not travelled outside of the UK – or been on a plane. My old school had been a second rate Grammar School – but it was about to become a comprehensive school; my old college was just about to become a new Polytechnic (which in turn would become a university in the late eighties). (Robinson, 1968).


1968 was a spectacularly symbolic year even if it is only one blip in the grand march of time. It was a year when the whole world was watching- as it does now all the time. For a few it has come to stand for an awful lot. But in many ways it has become an overloaded symbol, fraught with multiple meanings and tensions. 1968 is perhaps best seen as one of those years which condenses a lot of issues to become a significant, symbolic spectacle – a critical moment of moral effervescence. The actual period it signifies is much broader –possibly the late 1950’s to the mid 1970’s; and in reality the year exemplifies endless multiplicities, complexities and harbours no internal unity or linear logic of the kinds that analysts might like to claim. Gerard de Groot’s (2008) view of the 1960’s as a kaleidoscope comes closest to mine. I am very aware of the limitations of historicist and overly structural determinist accounts. The student politics of 1968 should then be seen both as one event in a stream of events ; and as part of a much broader period of time – contested maybe, but taking in much of the 1960’s and the 1970’s (and often linked to the period 1958-1975:Marwick’s ‘cultural revolution’). 1968 is an overloaded, over-determined and maybe by now even over theorised symbol; but its events are so multiple and contingent that it is dangerous I think to look for any big story.  My stance cautions me of grand theory and over generalisation. Sociology needs a better way to handle multiplicities.

I want to suggest that once we start to examine the range of meanings, structures, situations – the full range of micro, meso and macrostructures in which ‘1968’ was embedded, we have to notice at the very least the chaos behind it all. It is absolutely not cut from the same cloth. We need theory that has ambiguity, contingency, variability, plurality, complexity, contradiction, change, process and flow built into its heart at the local and the global levels. We need a theory of multiplicity and complexity (Urry, 2003). Sociology is good at picking up on themes, but it really has very weak tools for approaching the total as a multiplicity like that I have located above, and as examining one year in the world -1968 – has made me so aware.

Subterranean Worlds Rising – The social worlds of outsiders in transformation

If dominant cultures exist (I sometimes wonder if they actually do – I can never locate them as easily as some sociological work does), we must always see this in relation to what I would like to call subterranean cultures and ‘traditions’. In all societies there are what we might call the deep traditions of the subterranean to which sociologists often pay little focused attention: everywhere there are traditions that persistently work to minimally creatively react to and engage with whatever passes as a ‘dominant culture’ : they negotiate, play with it, subvert it.  They reform, rebel it and revolutionise it. And at extremes, they aim to destroy it. All of social life is active and across the world people are always resisting, changing, modifying, denying and sometimes rejecting the realities they live in. Subterranean cultures display submerged and less visible patterns of culture which subvert, criticise, mock or distance themselves from the dominant culture. These are likely to have a lot of varieties, will have long histories and are quite likely to be found in most societies. Nobody agrees fully with any status quo and everybody negotiates their own space. Some of these will be directly confrontational and critical; many will be subversive; others will simply retreat from the dominant order (Matza, 1964).

Dominant or hegemonic cultures, then, are never all there is – and ironically, they may not even be that dominant if we want to understand social life. I suspect all societies thrive not only on the ascendant but also the descendant. There may even be an imagined dominant world that has to be resisted. There is a lot at work beneath the formal conventions, the orthodoxies. Societies generate subterranean traditions – whole worlds of values, meanings, practices that have little to do with these orthodoxies. Certainly, in much of the western world since the late 19th century we can trace subterranean worlds evolving and mutating into various modern forms.  Consider the following. Throughout all of the twentieth, much of the nineteenth and possibly a good part of the eighteenth we could find a seething cauldron of bubbling differences: these are the social worlds of ethnicities (from the colonised, the slave , the refugee), gender and queer sexualities (women, men, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, sadomasochist, paedophiliac), political difference (of both extreme right and extreme left: and especially: Marxist – left worlds, Anarchist-situationist worlds, fascist worlds) environmental and back to nature worlds, peace and anti war worlds, art and culture worlds, intellectual worlds, bohemian and outsider worlds, religious (evangelicals, reformers, millenarian movements); and of course class worlds and age worlds.

All of these work to break down and subvert any idea of a any kind of consensus throughout recent history and most of them have acted as the basis of prototypical social movements of resistance and change. Chart Two below suggests some of this. It is a major research project to follow all this through.  But each one of these can be seen as a kind of contemporary social world in the making– some more strongly than others, some more political than others. Their roots dig back through the twentieth century, into the nineteenth century, and often into the eighteenth. They all have quite long histories that are now well documented: none of them just appeared in 1968.


In a string of important books, the late Charles Tilly has documented the significant growth of social movements in the modern world at a global level. Social movements are a key factor in ordinary folks participation in the running of their lives, and he links their rise and fall to the ‘expansion and contraction of democratic possibilities’ (Tilly, 2004:3). From their earliest days, such movements can be seen as arising in subterranean worlds where people are resisting dominant powerful forces. Under conditions often of stress and crisis, they engage in the stages of collective activity which produce claims and help frame arguments about the nature of their lives and their problems. From this they work to get organised – to mobilise resources. Initially based on specific countries, by the nineteenth century they increasingly had become international. And by the time of 1968, such movements were almost global: certainly as Todd Gitlin (1980) argued, ‘the whole world was watching’.

At this time there is a spectacular growth of social movements. A range of movements  existed before 1968 in relative isolation and quietness, but the furore of 1968 helped them find space to develop in the years between 1969- 1975: for this is the time that we really get to see the growth of the Environmental Movement, the Women’s Movement, the Gay/Lesbian and Queer Liberation Movements, and the spread of Anti Race and Post colonial Movements. These had all existed before for at least a century or more; but public awareness shifted around this time and made conditions more plausible for social movements to thrive publicly.  Such movements are now firmly part of the modern world – and some such as Manuel Castells and Alan Touraine see them as absolutely central to it.

Although 1968 did not achieve any of its grander goals like the ending of capitalism,  the collapse of modern technology, the ending of wars or even the creation of university cultures that were genuinely concerned with knowledge and ideas and not dominated by markets and managers, it could be claimed perhaps that it served as a marker event for a long historical trend to bring subterranean values more openly into the mainstream, and that the generation itself promulgated ideas of change, creativity, and individualism that have often been manifested in the activities of a vast network of social movements and change agents. In my wider paper, I have tried to suggest that modern day movements – from the Women’s Movement and Queer Movement to the Environment Movement and  Post Colonial Movements – have long traditions back into the nineteenth (and in some cases eighteenth) centuries that were brought together at  critical effervescent moments that occurred during the early 1960’s and mid 1970’s and which is symbolised by ‘1968’. Achieving little directly, it transformed the culture of expectations in which life has since been lived even if routinely contested. The importance of human rights across the world and the significance of individual lives across major differences – of living with and developing the differences- is now firmly on the agenda.


I have used my own life – of gay rights and queer issues- as a clear and simple example of all this. In the Western world, queer life has been radically re-organised over the past forty years. New generations can hardly comprehend the world that has been won (for them?). Indeed I can hardly grasp it. There back in the 1960’s homosexuality was a crime, a sickness, a huge secret. It was not easy to be gay then, or indeed for centuries before. It still is not in much of the world, and the battle is now a world wide one. But the transformations that took place during this period have established the agenda: human rights for gays is now a reality in many places. Life is still hard for many, but for many millions a world has arrived which was inconceivable before. We must therefore be wary of analysing society and its changes too negatively – as sociologists are prone to do. In many subterranean worlds of life once downtrodden and excluded, we have seen real change, And it is in part the spirit of 1968 which has helped in this.

The same story can be told over and over again. I start to document this in the attached Table 2. Societies here can be documented not as hegemonic structures but as multiple strands of resisting cultures.  A.C.Grayling has recently (2007) documented ‘five hundred years of struggles for liberty and rights that made the modern west’. In a sense this is a historical and philosophical guide to the gradual development of modern social movements that engage daily to enhance freedom and protect rights. He is rightly concerned that we can easily lose these rights: that the struggles and high costs of the last five hundred years can be easily lost. History is not inevitably on the side of progress. Events like 1968 help to consolidate and lead us towards utopian visions of human life.

Sociology has long been engaged with debates over values and politics. At one level it function in a highly orthodox and professional fashion; at another it has its own underground of subterranean traditions. The debates in 1968 were notoriously part of this – they brought to the surface a large number of brooding tensions, described the world we wanted to live in, suggested the kind of studies that sociology should do, signposted the changes that were needed. We were naive perhaps, but unashamedly partisan. I came into sociology with a passion and anger about the understanding of homosexuality – I was angry about the long historical and wider cultural rejection and abuse of homosexuals. It was a fortunate contingency to be born an early baby boomer and find myself in a culture which dreamt of radical change: it was a culture where everything seemed possible. Although I had just missed the excitement of 1968, I was indeed in time for the Gay Liberation Front. And this, I know, has been a major defining fact of my life.

I have been publicly out as gay man now for over forty years – at home, at work and at play; and I can hardly imagine now what pains must exist if people stay in the closet. In my life time I have seen major changes and many of them for the better. There has been major progress (see Weeks, 2008; Robinson, 2009). But my value and political base line was actually very narrow; it was restricted to a neophyte queer imagination lodged in liberalism with Marxist aspirations. It served me very well at the time, but as I have aged, so my value and political baselines have broadened. My utopian dreaming has somehow never vanished. I am now what I call a critical humanist.

Social life is always contingent, creative and contested. It is always incorrigibly plural. Values and politics touch everything we do, even when we do not want them to.  And we had better come clean about it.  In the vast multi paradigm discipline that we have invented called sociology, we need to get our values up front and clear. Of course, we need objectivity, ‘science’, critical reasoning, edge: I am not arguing for any kind of postmodern relativism but a knowledge that is grounded surely on where we want to go. Many of the old dreams of sociologists have been destroyed: we need to make our agendas clearer for the twenty first century. Do we support the long term search for human capabilities flourishing for all and is human rights the best mode for doing this? Do we wish to live in a world where the multiple patterns of inequality – from class to disability- are weakened? Do we wish ultimately to cultivate a humane and cosmopolitan attitude in global citizens (Appiah, 2006;  Chhachhi & Nicholas, 2006; Snaider,2001).  My affirmative answer to these questions provides my utopian dream: not a utopia which will ever arrive, but one which a humane sociology can help each generation rework and thus enable social life to flourish.


Kwame Anthony Appiah  (2006) Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of  Strangers  Allen Lane
Manuel Castells (1999) The Information Age: Vol 2 The Power of Identity Blackwell
Amitra Chhachhi & Hioward Nicholas (2006) Cosmopolitanisms; An Examination of Frontiers of Justice, Development and Change Vol 37, No 6 p1227-1334
Gerard DeGroot (2008) The 60’s Unplugged: A Kaleidoscopic History of a Disorderly Decade,MacMillan
Tidd Gitlin (1980) The whole world is watching ( 1980) University of California Press
Alvin Gouldner  (1973) ‘Romanticism and Classicism: Deep structures in social science’ in his For Sociology: Renewal and Critique in Sociology Today. Allen Lane
Alvin Gouldner (1971) The Coming Crisis of Western Sociology. Heinemann
A.C.Grayling (2007) Towards the Light.Bloomsbury.
H. Halsey (2004) A History of Sociology in Britain. Oxford
Arthur Marwick ((1998) The Sixties. Oxford
David Matza (1961)’Subterranean Traditions of Youth’ Annals of the  Ameruican Academy of Political and Social Science Vol 338, No 1:p102-118
Michel Maffesoli (1996) The Time of the Tribes: The decline of Individualism in Mass Society. Sage
Ken Plummer (2003) Intimate Citizenship : Washington
Eric  Robinson (1968) The New Polytechnics: The People’s Universities: Penguin.
Peter Robinson (2009) The Changing Worlds of Gay Men 1950-2000:Palgrave
Natan Sznaider (2001) The Compassionate Temperament. Care And Cruelty in Modern Society. Rowman and Littlefield.
Charles Tilly (2004) Social Movements 1768-2004  Boulder: Paradigm
John Urry (2003) Global Complexity. Sage
Jeffrey Weeks (2008) The World We Have Won: Polity


Daniel Bell (1976) The Coming of Post Industrial Society
Pierre Bourdieu (1984/1988) Homo Academicus . Polity
Alexander Cockburn & Robin Blackburn eds (1969) Student Power: Problems, Diagnois, Action. Penguin
Stan Cohen and Laurie  Taylor (1976) Escape Attempts. Allen Lane
Jonathan Dollimore (1991) Sexual Dissidence: Augustine to Wilde, Freud to Foucault Clarendon
Norman Denzin (2003) Performance Ethnography. Sage
June Edmunds and Bryan S Turner (2002) Generations, Culture and Society. Open University
John Horton.’Order and Conflict Theories of Social Problems as Competing Ideologies’.American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 71, No. 6 (May, 1966), pp. 701-713
Eric Hobsbawm  (1994)  The Age of extremes  1914-1991  Penguin
Mark Kurlansky (2004) 1968: The Year that Rocked the World. Jonathan Cape.
Karl Mannheim (1936) Ideology and Utopia. Routledge
Kevin McDonald (2006) Global Movements Blackwell
The National Deviancy Conference Papers- see Stanley Cohen ed (1971) Images of Deviance. Penguin;
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Geoff Pearson (1975) The Deviant Imagination.MacMillan.
Jennifer Platt (2003) The British Sociological Association. Sociology Press
John Rex (1961) Key Problems of Sociological Theory. Routledge
Theodore Roszak (1968/1970) The Making of a Counter Culture: Reflections on the Technocratic Society and Its Youthful Opposition
Charles Reich (1970) The Greening of America. Penguin
Dominic Sandbrook (2006/7) White Heat: A History of the Swinging Sixties. Abacus
Richard Schnechner  (2002 2nd ed) Performance Studies Routledge
Eve Kasofsky Sedgwick (1985) Between Men
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Elizabeth Wilson (2003) Bohemians: The Glamorous Outcasts.TaurisParke
Tom Wolfe (1976) ‘The Me Decade’ in Mauve Gloves and Madmen, Clutter and Vine. Bantam
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Cas Wouters (2007) Informalization: Manners and emotions since 1890. Sage

APPENDIX  ONE: Auto/ethnographic notes: The Cultural Construction of a young working class gay man starting on a PhD at the LSE circa 1968 and lecturing at Enfield College……

I was born in Wood Green, London in 1946. dad was a barber, mum worked in a laundry: she was a miner’s daughter. Nobody in our family had ever been near a university before.

 The soundtrack of my life:
Dusty Springfield
Motown- Four Tops, Marvin Gaye..
Diana Ross and the Supremes
Judy Garland (who died in 1969)
Marlene Dietrich (who I did not see until 1970)
Big Musicals: Hello Dolly, Mame, Sound of Music etc
New Rock Musicals: Hair, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Do your Own Thing etc
Film Musicals: Singing in the Rain, Wizard of Oz, The Band Wagon etc
Groups like The Searchers, the Hollies and the Kinks
Simon and Garfunkel
(but definitely not the Rolling Stones, Doors or Jimmy Hendrix!)

Some very influential books around the 1968 Generation

Alexander Cockburn & Robin Blackburn eds Student Power (1969) Penguin Special
Herbert Marcuse Eros and Civilization
Guy DeBord The Society of the Spectacle
Theodore Roszak The Making of a Counter culture: Reflection on the technocratic society and its Youthful Opposition (1970
Charles Reich The Greening of America
Germaine Greer The Female Eunoch
Franz Fanon Black Masks
Ronald Laing  The Politics of Expreience (and the others!)
Juliet Mitchell Women’s Estate
Paulo Friere Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Ivan Illich  Deschooling Society
Willhelm Reich The Sexual Revolution
Tom Wolfe The Electric Kool Aid Acid test
Richard Neville Play Power
Kate Millett Sexual Politics

My Early Sociological Reading – Memories and purchases

(Method: This list was written off the top of my head in half an hour – whatever else I may have read, these clearly left a mark on me. I clustered them by what I call to be roughly the courses that I took. I then did a bit of Amazon checking for a few titles that I was a bit unclear about).

My first degree was the London (external) B.Sc Sociology 1964 -7. It included part one (examined at the end of the second year): economics, philosophy and methods/statistics; and part two (at the end of Year 3 – I took my exams during the ‘Six day War’ of Israel/Arab states June 5-10th 1967): sociological theory, comparative social institutions, social psychology, social history, social structure of modern Britain, and my options: criminology and social policy.

Richard Lipsey Positive Economics 1st edition has just been published ( I note that it is now in its 11th edition as Lipsey and Chrystal (Oxford, 2007)


Michael Schofield Sexual Behaviour of Young People
Alfred Kinsey et al Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male – methods appendix
Social Philosophy
Peter Winch The Idea of Social Science
Benn and Peters Social Principles and the Democratic State
Comparative Social Institutions
Edward Westermarck History of Moral and the Family
Margaret Mead Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies
Stanislav Andreski Comparative Sociology
Karl Wittfogel Oriental Despotism
Karl Mannheim Comparative Criminology
Robert Merton Social Theory and Social Structure (Anomie)
Howard S Becker Outsiders
Erving Goffman Stigma
Social Psychology
Stanley Milgram Obedience to Authority
Theodore Adorno The Authoritarian Personality
J C Brown Freud and the Post Freudians
Robert J Lifton Thought Reform
Sociological Theory
Don Martindale The Nature and Types of Sociological Theory
Talcott Parsons The Structure of Social Action
Karl Popper The Poverty of Historicism/The Open Society and its Enemies
Thomas Kuhn The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
C Wright Mills Marx and the Marxists
Tom Bottomore and Rubel: Karl Marx:Readings.
Ernest Gellner Thought and Change
John Rex Key Problems of Sociological Theory
Structure of Modern Britain
Ronald Fletcher The Family
Ronald Frankenberg Communities in Britain
Josephine Klein Samples of English Culture
W G Runciman Social Justice and Relative Deprivation
John Goldthope, Lockwood, Platt and Bachoffer (the start of ) The Affluent Worker
A.M.Carr-Saunders and D Caradog Jones   Social Structure of Modern Britain
Social Policy
Kathleen Jones The Making of Social Policy in Britain (1st edition)
Penelope Hall  Social Services of England and Wales
And basic texts
I used:
Kingsley Davis Human Societies
Robert Mciver  Societies
Ely Chinoy Sociology
Duncan Mitchell Sociology



The academic background shapers for my PhD: 1968-1973
The various articles written by John Gagnon and William Simon (published in 1974 as Sexual Conduct)
Howard S Becker Outsiders / ed. The Other Side
David Matza Becoming Deviant
Herbert Blumer Symbolic Interactionism
Anselm Strauss Mirrrors and Masks, Awareness Contexts, Grounded Theory etc
Edwin Schur  Crimes without Victims
Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann The Construction  of Social Reality
Erving Goffman Aslums/Stigma/Presentation of Self in Everyday Life/ Encounters
Stanley Cohen  Ph D Thesis, LSE
Paul Rock Deviant Behaviour (and other deviancy texts: like Rubington and Weinberg)
(Interestingly: there are no women on this list – my feminist education started in 1974 with the BSA Conference held in that year; my ‘conversion’ happened through knowing Annabel Faraday in the late 1970’s and through reading Andrea Dworkin in the early 1980’s).

‘Queer’ texts that shaped my early life:  or what I could get my hands on around 1968!

Michael Schofield Sociological Aspects of Homosexuality
Donald West Homosexuality
Evelyn Hooker ‘ Psychological adjustments of the overt homosexual..’
Alfred Kinsey et al  Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male/Female
The papers of Gagnon and Simon ( their book was not published till 1974 in the UK)
Laud Humphreys Tea Room Trade
Mary McIntosh ‘The Homosexual Role’
Genet…. James Baldwin etc.
Dennis Altman Homosexual: Liberation and Oppression (the first serious modern gay liberation book –published in 1971 in the UK)
(I wasn’t very keen on Freud at all but  did read him!)

See table and add

18th-20th Centuries: ‘Subterannean Worlds’ ever present ———‘1968’as symbol  ———- 21stCentury Social Movements, Tribes, Worlds (in process)

1.Ethnic, colonised, migrants, refugee worlds                                                   Black Power, Anti-Racism, Post Colonial Movements
(Slave movements, Up from Slavery, nation/sub nation conflicts..)                  The subaltern

2.Queer –mollies, queers, male lesbian, transgender, sexual worlds                         GLF/GBLT, Trans, Bisexual, Polyarmorous, Queer Movements etc

3.Gender  – women’s worlds                                                                             35 varieties of 2nd wave and 3rd wave feminism!
(Sennecca Falls, Suffragetes, women’s writings)                                                (Radical, socialist, black, queer, post-modern, etc)

4.Political cultures – of both extreme right and extreme left:                                       All kinds of major and minor political parties, and their
Marxist inspired  – left worlds, Anarchist-situationist worlds                            resistant break away groups: Most did not exist two hundred years
Multiple and many interconnections and schisms                                                         ago. (SWP, International Situationalists)

5.Peace and environmental worlds                                                                   Green Parties: Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth etc
(Nature, conservation, pacifism, early peace movements)

6.Age and generational                                                                                     Grey power, youth movements etc

7.Youth worlds including student cultures                                                         Youth cultures, subcultures: Goths, punks, hippies and the rest . Organisations, Participation in University governance

8.Bohemian worlds (becoming   countercultures)                                                          Hippies, countercultures…….

9.Art and culture worlds –                                                                                Avant Gardism, Dadaism, surrealism, atonalism and the rest…
10.Intellectual worlds – free thinkers outside of the conventional corpus                      Post modern, post colonial, queer theory etc
11.Religious cultures evangelicals, reformers, millenarian movements              the new religious movements, splits and fundamentalism
12. Class worlds –                                                                                             the underclass in its various manifestations
the super rich etc








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