Discussion questions for seminars and classes where students have read chapters from the book.
1 The waging of war
- Did the war bring any degree of social levelling?
- What did the war do to national identity inWales?
- How serious and widespread was opposition to the war inWales?
- What were the most significant impacts of the war inWales?
- Did the Welsh experience of the war differ from elsewhere in theUK?
2 The spirit of reconstruction
- How did the war shape the reconstruction ofWales?
- What were the main goals of the programme of reconstruction?
- To what extent was there popular support for Labour Party and its policies?
- Was there a Welsh dimension to the programme of reconstruction?
- How should the historian sum up the late 1940s?
3 The hard times are finished
- To what extent was the Welsh economy restructured during the 1950s and 60s?
- How useful are economic statistics for understanding this period?
- Did consumer goods change life for people inWales?
- Why was there some unease about and resistance to the growth of affluence?
- Did poverty exist in the 1950s?
- To what extent had the Welsh ‘never had it so good’ in the 1950s? Were people happy?
- What do voting patterns tell us about people’s outlook at this time?
- Can the Welsh experience of affluence be compared with what was happening in the rest of theUK
4 Promiscuous living
- Why was rock’n’roll and pop music both so popular and so worrying?
- Was crime and promiscuity a significant problem?
- Were the fears about youth culture justified?
- How important was the modern media to youth culture?
- Did the sixties swing inWales? Were there rural and urban variations?
- What does youth culture contribute to an understanding of affluence and happiness in the 1950s and 60s?
- Can the Welsh experience of youth culture be compared with what was happening in the rest of theUK?
5 A new society
- Did the movement of people undermine traditional industrial and urban communities?
- Was the sense of decline in many industrial communities, a social or economic phenomenon?
- Was Wales a class-based society? Were there any differences in the dynamics of class betweenWalesandEngland?
- What does a consideration of ethnicity tell us about urbanWalesin the 1950s and 60s?
- Can we talk of an urban experience inWalesin this period?
- Did the social and political changes experienced by industrial communities have any political impact?
6 Life among the hills
- What was the ‘Welsh Wayof Life’?
- Why was ruralWalesseen to be the ‘realWales’?
- How accurate were the traditional views of rural life?
- To what extent did ruralWaleschange in the 1950s and 60s?
- To what extent should we regard ruralWalesin this period as a unique place?
- Was ruralWalesa religious society?
7 A cottonwool fuzz
- How important was the Welsh language to Welsh identity in the 1950s and 60s?
- What we surmise about Welshness from the language’s decline?
- Was the rise of Welsh-language education simply pandering to minority political interests?
- How should we regard the significance of the rise of Welsh-medium education and a Welsh media?
- Was Britishness a more powerful identity than Welshness?
- Do the sources exist to come to any firm conclusions about how people saw their Welsh identity? Is all we all lots of competing examples?
- By looking at this period through the lens of national identity are we distorting how “it was”?
8 Nationalists of many varieties
- Does the Tryweryn affair deserve its symbolic place in Welsh history?
- Were Plaid Cymru a significant political force in the 1950s and 60s?
- Was the nationalist community right to see an urgency to their tasks and aims?
- To what extent did Cymdeithas yr Iaith represent a new direction in Welsh politics and Welsh culture?
- How should we regard and interpret the violent nationalist actions?
- Do you agree that direct action did more for the Welsh cause than the ballot box?
- What does an understanding of nationalism tell about how the silent majority saw their national identities?
9 Black Times
- Why did the Welsh economy face such significant problems in the 1970s?
- Were there any economic bright spots?
- How radical were Welsh workers during the 1970s and early 1980s?
- How significant a problem was unemployment in this period?
- Is the miners’ strike 1984-5 little more than a symbolic moment in Welsh history?
- Is it misleading to focus on the coal industry in considering this period and topic?
- Was the decline of the Labour Party inevitable in a climate of economic decline?
- How important is class to an understanding of this period?
10 Under an acid rain
- Is rugby simply a reflection of attitudes towardsWalesor did it have an active impact on how people thought and acted?
- Was Wales unified in its attitudes towards national identity?
- Why did Wales vote no in 1979?
- Is there a contradiction between the patriotism seen in rugby and wider ideas of national identity?
- Was Britishness in Wales simply hangover from older sentiments and older people?
- Can attitudes towards national identity in this period be divorced from the wider economic climate?
- Was Wales really standing under an acid rain?
11 Who’s happy?
- Did the position of women in Welsh society improve in the 1970s and 80s?
- To what extent were women complicit in their status?
- WasWalesa tolerant society?
- Was age a source of social inequality?
- Does the ongoing rise of consumerism mean the idea of the 1970s and 1980s as a period of economic problems is misleading?
- Is the idea of an underclass useful in understandingWalesin this period?
- Did the 1970s, 80s and 90s witness a decline in community?
- Can the social and cultural changes of this period be linked to political developments?
- Were people happy and happier?
12 Adapt to the future
- Is the creation of S4C an important moment in Welsh history?
- Was Wales governed in any unique way?
- Was the 1980s and 1990s a period of decline or advance for the Welsh language?
- Was the 1993 Welsh Language Act a success or failure?
- Can we talk of a Welsh language community during this period?
- To what extent did English-speaking Wales start to feel more Welsh?
- Were the Conservatives an unpopular government? Were they good or bad for Wales?
13 They don’t belong here
- Was the impact of second home ownership on rural communities as significant as many felt?
- To what extent was language at the heart of rural tensions?
- How important is class to understanding rural Wales?
- How should the rural economy be characterised in this period?
- Can rural Wales be seen as a distinct place in the period since 1970?
14 A nation once again
- Why was there a Yes vote in 1997?
- To what extent should the referendum be seen as a shift in opinion from 1979?
- Can devolution be considered a success?
- Did Wales become a more culturally distinct nation after 1999?
- How important is globalization to understanding Wales in the early 21st century?
- Should the establishment of the National Assembly be regarded as some sort of historical climax for Wales?