© 2018

Youth Movements, Citizenship and the English Countryside

Creating Good Citizens, 1930-1960


Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Social Movements book series (PSHSM)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Sian Edwards
    Pages 1-44
  3. Sian Edwards
    Pages 81-125
  4. Sian Edwards
    Pages 127-169
  5. Sian Edwards
    Pages 171-205
  6. Sian Edwards
    Pages 207-246
  7. Sian Edwards
    Pages 247-264
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 265-296

About this book


This book explores the significance and meaning of the countryside within mid-twentieth century youth movements. It examines the ways in which the Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, Woodcraft Folk and Young Farmers’ Club organisations employed the countryside as a space within which ‘good citizenship’ – in leisure, work, the home and the community – could be developed.  Mid-century youth movements identified the ‘problem’ of modern youth as a predominantly urban and working class issue. They held that the countryside offered an effective antidote to these problems: being a ‘good citizen’ within this context necessitated a respectful and mutually beneficial relationship with the rural sphere. Avenues to good citizenship could be found through an enthusiasm for outdoor recreation, the stewardship of the countryside and work on the land. However, models of good citizenship were intrinsically gendered. 


Woodcraft Folk Rural History Girl Guide Association British History Social History Boy Scouts

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryUniversity of WinchesterWinchesterUK

About the authors

Sian Edwards is Lecturer in Modern British History at the University of Winchester, UK.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Youth Movements, Citizenship and the English Countryside
  • Book Subtitle Creating Good Citizens, 1930-1960
  • Authors Sian Edwards
  • Series Title Palgrave Studies in the History of Social Movements
  • Series Abbreviated Title Palgrave Studies in the History of Social Movements
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-65156-9
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-319-87961-1
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-65157-6
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XVII, 296
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics History of Britain and Ireland
    Social History
    Youth Culture
    Sociology of Family, Youth and Aging
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“Youth Movements, Citizenship and the English Countryside is an ambitious study that successfully sheds light on the often-overlooked relationship between young people and the countryside in the mid-twentieth century. It provides a new lens with which to view the changes to youth lifestyles over this 30 year period, and should be of interest to any historian of youth in modern Britain.” (Sarah Kenny, Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 54 (1), 2019)