‘The people's amusement’: the growth in cinema-going and reading habits

Robert James

in Popular Culture and Working-Class Taste in Britain, 1930-39

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780719080258
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702444 | DOI:
‘The people's amusement’: the growth in cinema-going and reading habits

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Cinema-going was the most popular leisure pursuit in the 1930s and had become the essential social habit. This chapter provides a broad survey of the growth of the cinema-going habit in the period, outlines the various reasons behind it and assesses how different consumer groups could be attracted to this relatively new leisure form. The dissemination of the various roles performed by other leisure pursuits is essential to better understand the social and cultural tasks cinema-going performed. The other contrasting leisure activity chosen is reading. Cinema-going was a communal activity, reading was a primarily solitary pastime; the cinema offered a visual and sound experience, reading offered a literary one. There is more than a casual overlap between the cultural experiences of both leisure activities, and many similarities in their production and consumption, which the chapter identifies.

Keywords: cinema-going; reading; communal activity; leisure pursuit; cultural goods

Chapter.  11320 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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