Selina Todd is Professor of Modern History and Co-Director of Women in Humanities at Oxford University. Her book Young Women, Work and Family in England 1918-1950 won the Women’s History Network Book Prize. Her most recent book, The People: The Rise and Fall of the Working Class, 1910-2010, was a Sunday Times bestseller and was shortlisted for Political History Book of the Year 2014.
On 5 April 2017, she delivered the keynote address to the Social History Society’s 2017 conference at the UCL Institute of Education. She challenge she set herself in this lecture was to debunk the six central myths of social mobility in postwar Britain:
- Social mobility is an individual project personified by the ‘self-made man’.
- Selective education has enabled social mobility.
- A lack of aspiration, or cultural capital, prevents working-class people from rising up the social ladder.
- Getting up the ladder means imitating those a few rungs up.
- Social mobility takes place before the age of 35.
- Social mobility is a social good.