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Peopling the Past

R. Lawton
Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Vol. 12, No. 3 (1987), pp. 259-283
DOI: 10.2307/622405
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/622405
Page Count: 25
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Peopling the Past
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Abstract

Re-creating the past demands both wide ranging analytical techniques and an ability to evaluate from a range of evidence the impact of events on the lives and perceptions of the individuals involved. Population studies are demanding in the scale and range of evidence required, covering long time periods and the effect, at both individual and regional/national levels, of economic, social and demographic change. The study of nineteenth-century British society involves analysis of both major transformations such as urbanization and population mobility in response to economic and social change, and their impact on the lives of individuals and classes of society. The labour market shaped many of the features of inter-regional migration, but individual responses to the search for work and housing and family and community ties underlie many of the residential and social patterns of such cities as Liverpool. A full understanding of these complex factors requires a knowledge and appreciation of the individual experience to which the study of biographical material--not least for working-class men and women--brings an essential dimension. The ability to share that experience may give a better insight into both the human geography of the past and our own inheritance from it.

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