Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Politics, History and International Relations

Department Staff

Marcus Collins

Marcus Collins

Senior Lecturer in Cultural History
BA, MA, PhD

Tel: +44 (0)1509 223882

Location: Manzoni Building

Profile

I research permissiveness, popular culture, national identity, gender, sexuality, historiography and the experience of modernity in twentieth-century Britain. My first book,Modern Love, explores how women's emancipation changed the theory and practice of friendship, marriage and sexual activity from the fin de siècle to the present. It argues that mutuality represented a significant missing link between Victorian models of personal relationships and our own: mutuality being my term for the widespread notion among self-styled progressives that a combination of mixing, companionate marriage and shared sexual pleasure would forge an intimate equality between women and men. I examine the practical effects of these doctrines in case studies of youth clubs, marital problems and soft-core pornography, all of which indicate a gap between expectations and outcomes. Though promising harmony, mutuality failed to resolve how equality squared with difference and left largely untouched the structural inequalities between men and women outside their private lives. Click on the links to listen to me discussing my book on BBC Radio 4 and Australia’s ABC. A transcript of the ABC interview is also available Transcript of Interview with Marcus Collins.

My next big job was to edit The Permissive Society and Its Enemies: Sixties British Culture. In it, I make the case for a less polemical and more empirical approach to a subject that has served as a battleground between Marxist and neo-conservative theorists. My introduction defines and periodises permissiveness, identifies its major proponents and opponents and examines its relationship to gender and generation, national identity and party politics.

Research

I am currently engaged two book-length projects. ‘The Beatles and the Permissive Society’ will be the first monograph on the group by an academic British historian. It argues that they should be understood not only as the advocates of permissiveness, but also as its critics and even its casualties: by turns embracing and renouncing drugs, luxury, promiscuity, publicity and revolutionary politics. Their life experiments are a matter of more than biographical interest because, as quintessential Everymen, they experienced in exaggerated fashion the same dilemmas about freedom and de-traditionalisation facing the postwar generation in the developed world. I hosted a major international conference on The Beatles in 2012 and have been commissioned to edit a special Beatles issue of the journal Popular Music History. The second book project is entitled 'Experiencing Modernity in Late Twentieth-Century Britain'. It tests the claims of social theorists such as Anthony Giddens that the end of the twentieth century witnessed the birth of a 'late modern' epoch by examining how thousands of oral history interviewees articulated their understanding of, and participation in, such phenomena as globalisation, pluralism and time-space compression.

I teach historiography and British and European history since 1750 at undergraduate level and supervise postgraduate students in my specialisms of cultural history and contemporary British history. Any enquiries about the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes are very welcome.

I am currently engaged two book-length projects. ‘The Beatles and the Permissive Society’ will be the first monograph on the group by an academic British historian. It argues that they should be understood not only as the advocates of permissiveness, but also as its critics and even its casualties: by turns embracing and renouncing drugs, luxury, promiscuity, publicity and revolutionary politics. Their life experiments are a matter of more than biographical interest because, as quintessential Everymen, they experienced in exaggerated fashion the same dilemmas about freedom and de-traditionalisation facing the postwar generation in the developed world. The second book project is entitled 'Experiencing Modernity in Late Twentieth-Century Britain'. It tests the claims of social theorists such as Anthony Giddens that the end of the twentieth century witnessed the birth of a 'late modern' epoch by examining how thousands of oral history interviewees articulated their understanding of, and participation in, such phenomena as globalisation, pluralism and time-space compression.

I teach British, Irish and European history since 1750 at undergraduate level and supervise postgraduate students in my specialisms of cultural history and contemporary British history. Any enquiries about the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes are very welcome.

Recent publications

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Contact us

Department of Politics, History and International Relations
Herbert Manzoni Building
Loughborough University
Leicestershire,
LE11 3TU, UK‌‌

Tel: +44 (0)1509 222983