Notice of the following event focused on the remarkable figure of Pearl Jephcott, who between 1922 and 1946 was by turns a volunteer girls’ club worker, Organising Secretary for the Birmingham Union of Girls’ Clubs, the occupant of a similar post in County Durham and finally the Publications Officer for the National Association of Girls’ Clubs – thanks for this background to Tony Jeffs, who has a forthcoming article on this period in her life. The Leicester seminar looks more widely at her ensuing career as a pioneering social science researcher.
The next MediaCom Seminar hosted by the School of Media, Communication and Sociology at the University of Leicester will take place on Wednesday 10 May with Professor John Goodwin (University of Leicester).
The seminar will take place 4:00-5:30 pm on Wednesday 10 May in Bankfield House Lecture Theatre – all welcome.
School of Media, Communication and Sociology
University of Leicester
132 New Walk
Searching for Pearls: Reflections on Researching the Life and Work of Pearl Jephcott
Pearl Jephcott (1900-1980), in a research career spanning some forty years, made an outstanding contribution to British social science research. Her key works, included Girls Growing Up (1942), Rising Twenty (1948), Some Young People (1954), Married Women Working (1962), A Troubled Area: Notes on Notting Hill (1964), Time of One’s Own (1967) and Homes in High Flats (1971), alongside numerous other reports and articles. These publications paved the way for many of the subsequent developments that were to come in the sociology of gender, women’s’ studies, urban sociology, the sociology of youth and are replete with originality, innovation and sociological imagination. Yet despite this Jephcott’s work has become neglected – seemingly relegated to second-hand booksellers and to ‘studies from the past’. As such in this paper I aim to do three things. First, I begin by providing a biographical sketch of Pearl Jephcott as well as reflecting upon key aspects of her early biography that helped inform her subsequent sociological practice. Second, I will provide an overview of her key works and draw out their contemporary relevance. Finally, I want to reflect on the ‘processes’ of researching a ‘past sociologist’ and the impact the research has had on my own sociological practice.