John Beckett

in Writing Local History

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9780719029509
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700679 | DOI:

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This chapter concludes the study on the origin of local history. Local history today can hardly be defined in a simple, straightforward manner. Perhaps no history can, but there is a particular difficulty with local history because it is place-specific rather than subject-specific. It is neither rural nor urban, despite the growth of urban history, medieval or modern, economic or political, and therein lies the problem, because ‘local’ still has overtones in the society of parochial. In university history departments, it is passed by in favour of student demand for Holocaust studies and the fascist dictatorships of twentieth-century Europe. It still inhabits a world of voluntary societies and some surviving adult education classes where it can be safely sidelined by professional historians, who can rest assured that their study of contexts, issues and concepts, published by academic presses after a rigorous process of peer review, represent real scholarship.

Keywords: local history; Holocaust; urban history; fascist dictatorship; adult education classes; twentieth-century Europe; professional historians

Chapter.  3389 words. 

Subjects: Methods and Historiography

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