Joe Moran (social historian)

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Joe Moran is a social and cultural historian who has written about everyday life, especially British everyday life from the mid-twentieth century until the present day.

Moran studied international history and politics at Leeds University before doing an MA in English literature and a DPhil in American studies at Sussex University.[1] The Mass-Observation Archive at Sussex was what aroused his interest in studying the everyday;[1] Moran credits his own interest in taking note of what normally goes unnoticed to the I-Spy booklets he consumed as a young boy.[2]

Quoting Doreen Massey, Moran says that despite every generation's emphasis on change, "much of life for many people 'still consists of waiting in a bus shelter with your shopping for a bus that never comes'"; he describes himself as "trying to find a critical language to talk about these empty, purposeless moments of daily life, filled with activities such as commuting and office routines, that we generally take for granted but that take up so much of our lives."[3] Moran describes himself as influenced by Mass-Observation and a new French ethnography of the quotidian or infraordinary, exemplified by works by Georges Perec, Marc Augé and François Bon.[3]

Moran's book Queuing for Beginners is a chronological account, from breakfast to bed, of a normal British day and how it has changed since the nineteenth century and more particularly since the 1930s; the book received favourable reviews.[4][5][6]

As of August 2013, Moran is a Professor of English and Cultural History at Liverpool John Moores University.[7] He has written for The Guardian[8] and New Statesman.[9]

Books by Moran[edit]

  • Star Authors: Literary Celebrity in America. London: Pluto Press, 1999. ISBN 0-7453-1519-4. (At Google Books.)
  • Interdisciplinarity. London: Routledge. Hardback: 2001; ISBN 0-415-25131-1. Paperback: 2002; ISBN 0-415-25132-X. (At Google Books.)
  • Reading the Everyday. London: Routledge, 2005. Hardback: ISBN 0-415-31708-8. Paperback: ISBN 0-415-31709-6. (At Google Books.)
  • Queuing for Beginners: The Story of Daily Life from Breakfast to Bedtime. Hardback. London: Profile Books, 2007. ISBN 0-7432-5920-3. Paperback. London: Profile Books, 2008. ISBN 1-86197-841-3.
  • On Roads: A Hidden History. Hardback. London: Profile Books, 2009. ISBN 1-84668-052-2.
  • Armchair Nation: An intimate history of Britain in front of the TV. Hardback. London: Profile Books, 2013. ISBN 978-1-84668-391-6.
  • Shrinking Violets: a field guide to shyness. London: Profile. 2016. ISBN 978-1-78125-263-5.


  1. ^ a b Harriet Swain, "Our next book club selection is from...." Times Higher Education Supplement, 5 January 2007. Accessed 28 February 2009.
  2. ^ Queuing for Beginners (London: Profile, 2007) p.215
  3. ^ a b "The Value of Trivial Pursuits". Times Higher Education Supplement, 2 March 2007. Accessed 28 February 2009.
  4. ^ Lynsey Hanley, "Every Day in Every Way". New Statesman, 7 June 2007. Accessed 28 February 2009.
  5. ^ Kate Colquhoun, "A Life More Ordinary." Daily Telegraph, 16 July 2007. Accessed 28 February 2009.
  6. ^ Aimee Shalan, writing within Ian Pindar, Aimee Shalan and John Dugdale, "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Driver", The Guardian, 12 July 2008. Accessed 4 March 2009.
  7. ^ Staff listing of the School of Humanities and Social Science at Liverpool John Moores University. Accessed 12 August 2013.
  8. ^ For example, "A Mini-break on the M1?", The Guardian, 25 October 2008. Accessed 28 February 2009.
  9. ^ List of contributions to The New Statesman. Accessed 28 February 2009.

External links[edit]