History is anything that happened before you opened this book. It might be argued, from a beginner’s point of view, that politics is a way of organising what is going on around you, and has been a form of organisation in society throughout history; and that sociology is one of several ways of analysing society, and society itself is surrounding you even as you read these sentences. This book is an attempt to understand the recent past and the present, which is where the past has got to so far, through the disciplines of politics, history and branches of sociology — in general, social studies, or British Studies, the study of Britain.
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