Research

Charlotte Greenhalgh is an historian of private life, social science, and the lifecycle. Her research aims to connect the stories of individuals to large-scale transformations in social life that occurred during the twentieth century.

Aging in Twentieth-Century Britain

As today’s baby boomers reach retirement and old age, this timely study looks back at the first generation who aged in the British welfare state. Using innovative research methods, Greenhalgh sheds light on the experiences of elderly people in twentieth-century Britain. She adds further insights from the interviews and photographs of celebrated social scientists such as Peter Townsend, whose work helped transform care of the aged. A comprehensive and sensitive examination of the creative pursuits, family relations, work lives, health, and living conditions of the elderly, Aging in Twentieth-Century Britain charts the determined efforts of ageing Britons to shape public understandings of old age in the modern era.

Aging in Twentieth-Century Britain is out with the University of California Press in June 2018

Researching Ourselves and Changing Society: Social Surveys in Twentieth-Century Australia and New Zealand

 In the twentieth century a series of social surveys—distinguished by their first-person interviews and evidence-based recommendations—offered Australians and New Zealanders a new form of knowledge about themselves. Far from being a simple discovery of fact, the act of social inquiry communicated a host of new ideas about the place of research participants within social hierarchy, state activity, and systems of knowledge. Importantly, social research conferred new status on the opinions and experiences of everyday people, which were presented as scientific evidence that justified policy recommendations and academic publications alike. This research, which is fully funded by the Australian Research Council for 2014-18, aims to discover how and why social research become an expected part of modern life. The project’s innovative reading of raw survey data—including interview transcripts, observations, and questionnaires—recovers the experience of participation in social research and establishes Australia and New Zealand’s role in the global development of social science.

Listen to Charlotte talk to Kathryn Ryan (Radio New Zealand) about the history of social surveys here.