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An Anti-Urban Education? Work Camps and Ideals of the Land in Interwar Britain

  • JOHN FIELD (a1)

This article examines the role of work camp movements in developing rural critiques of urban living in interwar Britain. A variety of work camp movements flourished in Europe during the interwar years, often partly as a reaction against urbanisation, and this paper explores the ways in which three such movements developed the work camp as a means of countering the socialising influences of city life. Yet while all of the interwar British work camps were located in the countryside, they varied in the extent to which they tried to promote rural values and orientations among their trainees. We can see the work camp as a liminal pedagogic space, designed to lead trainees to particular educational outcomes, using techniques and methods that focused on bodily change as well as cognitive development.

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D. Prynn , ‘The Woodcraft Folk and the Labour Movement, 1925–70’, Journal of Contemporary History, 18 (1983), 7995

N. Götz and K. K. Patel , ‘Facing the Fascist Model: Discourse and the Construction of Labour Services in the USA and Sweden in the 1930s and 1940s’, Journal of Contemporary History, 41:1 (2006), 65–8

L. S. MacDowell , ‘Relief Camp Workers in Ontario during the Great Depression of the 1930s’, Canadian Historical Review, 76:2 (1995), 205–28

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Rural History
  • ISSN: 0956-7933
  • EISSN: 1474-0656
  • URL: /core/journals/rural-history
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