Between 1937 and 1941, Mass Observation collected material on the ways that the British people experienced and thought about the commemorative practices that marked the anniversary of the Armistice of 1918. What they found was that whilst people were largely united in their observation of the rituals of remembrance, their thoughts and feelings about these practices were diverse. For some, the acts of commemoration were a fitting way to pay tribute to both the dead and the bereaved. For others, these acts were hypocritical in a nation preparing for war. This talk draws on the Mass Observation material to trace some of the diverse ways that remembrance was embodied in everyday life, practised, experienced, and understood by the British people as the nation moved once again from peace to war. It argues that studies of the practices of remembrance alone tell us little about how they have been understood by participants.
Dr Matt Cook explores how AIDS has been reordered by members of the Mass Observation Panel and National Lesbian and Gay Survey
Murray Goot - 'Inchoate and uncontrolled'
This paper addresses some of the criticisms levelled at Mass Observation by Mark Abrams one of the leading market researchers of his generation. It argues that some of his criticisms of MO were unfounded or exaggerated, that some of the problems he identified applied not just to Mass Observation but also to market research more generally, and that Abrams misunderstood much of what Mass Observation was attempting to do. This talk was given as part of the Mass Observation Anniversaries Conference, 4-6 July 2012.
Annebella Pollen, Art and Design Historian, looks at ways in which single days and individual viewpoints have been used to capture larger collective stories from Mass Observation to crowdsourced photography projects.
Laura Marcus -'The Optic of Mass Observation'
Professor Laura Marcus (New College, Oxford) gives her talk: 'The Optic of Mass Observation'. This talk was given as part of the Mass Observation Anniversaries Conference, 4-6 July 2012.
Claire Langhamer - 'The English in Love'
Claire Langhamer discusses how she used the Mass Observation Archive for her publication, ‘The English in Love’ (OUP)
James Hinton - 'Mass Observation: the first phase'
What were Mass Observations goals during its first phase (1937-1949), and how far did it achieve them? Drawing on his publication, The Mass Observers (OUP), James Hinton explores these questions. This talk was given as part of the Mass Observation Anniversaries Conference, 4-6 July 2012.