Capital Affairs: London and the Making of the Permissive Society

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How did sexuality transform post-war Britain? Countering the dominant myth of the sexual revolution, Capital Affairs shows how a new phase of post-Victorian morality was forged by the dramatic cultures of austerity and affluence that marked London life. During the 1950s a series of spectacular scandals profoundly disturbed the capital city in ways that had major consequences. High and low society collided in a world of social and sexual extremes. Patrician men-about-town, young independent women, Westminster politicians, queer men, and West-Indian newcomers were centre stage in encounters that reshaped public and private behaviour. These transgressive urban dramas were played out not just in the glamorous and shade entertainment spaces of the West End, but also in Whitehall and in the decaying twilight zones close by. The exotic districts of Soho and Notting Hill became flashpoints for anxieties about the changing character of sex in the city and the impact of decolonization. European styles of cosmopolitanism and the growing Caribbean presence in the capital redefined sex within the collective social imagination.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew Haven and London
PublisherYale University Press
ISBN (Print)9780300118797
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2010


  • Sex-England-London-History-20th century


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