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Title: 'The extra dimension' : a study and assessment of the methods employed by mass-observation in its first period 1937-40
Author: Stanley, N. S.
Awarding Body: City of Birmingham Polytechnic
Current Institution: Birmingham City University
Date of Award: 1981
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The nineteen-thirties spawned many odd movements, among which Mass-Observation is often mentioned in a footnote to histories of the period. It is the purpose of this study to re-examine the organisation's importance for sociological methodolo, y. It is here argued that Mass-Observation has been ignored and misrepresented, And that as a consequence the possibilities it offered sociology have been wasted. In the introductory chapter some reasons for this neglect are su; gnested and in the next two chapters particularly interesting areas are examined. The first of these concerns the use of artistic sources in social research, and the second the employment of untrained observers in data-collection. The fourth chapter is devoted to the debhte between Mass-Observation and academic critics both of the time and subsequently. The final chapter takes up some of the broader implications of the Mass-Observation experiment for present research strategies, and raises the question of the status of amateurs in social research. The main thrust of this work is the examination of the degrees to which Mass-Observation differed from other styles of investigation and an evaluation of the success of such innovative measures. It is this achievement that is referred to as 'the extra dimension'. ' This work argues ' that the benefits derived from literary and artistic approaches enabled the organisation to develop a flexible and convincing reportage. Furthermore, the amateur panel, 'untrained but shrewd', not only provided a rich source of data, but represented the germ of a new approach to the making of sociological records, one only_ten up subsequently within phenomenological sociology. It is the conclusion of this work that the example of Mass-Observation is worth close study by all engaged in qualitative sociology.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Sociology Sociology Human services