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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)


The list below shows Durham University research staff who are members of IMEMS. Click the member's name to see a more detailed biography and department.

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Publication details for Professor Andy Wood

Wood, Andy (2017). Five swans over Littleport: fenland folklore and popular memory, c. 1810-1978. In History after Hobsbawm: Writing the Past for the Twenty-First Century. Arnold, John H., Hilton, Matthew & Rüger, Jan Oxford: Oxford University Press. 225-241.

Author(s) from Durham


This chapter uses fenland folklore as a way of thinking about the importance of the local. It argues against grand narratives of globalization, to suggest instead that for many working people in the past it was in the context of the small community that social relations were made real and popular culture was felt and sensed. The piece therefore offers a corrective to current—elitist and statist—emphases upon ‘Big History’ and suggests instead that, if social historians are to understand the lived experience of working people in the past, it is necessary to return to local worlds and small communities.