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Establishment and Meritocracy


Like so many of the postwar generation in Britain, Peter Hennessy climbed the ladders of opportunity set up by the 1944 Education Act designed to encourage a more meritocratic society. In this highly personal book, Hennessy examines the rise of meritocracy as a concept and the persistence of the shadowy notion of an establishment in Britain’s institutions of state. He asks whether these elusive concepts still have any power to explain British society, and why they continue to fascinate us. To what extent are the ideas of meritocracy and the establishment simply imagined? And if a meritocracy rose in the years following 1945, has it now stalled?

With its penetrating examination of the British school system and postwar trends, Establishment and Meritocracy is an important resource for those concerned about the link between education and later success, both for individuals and their societies.

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