Dean Blackburn

Dean Blackburn

I am a Lecturer in Modern British History at the University of Nottingham, and my research engages with political ideas.

Location Nottingham


  • Most university libraries have 'special collections' that contain archival material. These kinds of collection are often particularly useful for local historians who are interested in the region that the institution is located within.

  • @CathyKelly In many ways we now have an economy geared towards consumption rather than production. So the crisis, which has placed severe constraints on our ability to consume goods and services, has certainly provided something of a shock. The question, of course, is whether this results in a significant shift in our thinking about economic activity and the...

  • That is a good point. And when actors use the term 'social justice', they may be referring to very different things. A socialist might assume that justice requires a certain degree of economic equality. A liberal, by contrast, might be more content with equalising opportunities.

  • These kinds of ideas have been central to the histories of modern ideologies like liberalism. It is difficult to see how liberal traditions of thought could have emerged unless the individual was regarded as autonomous agent with their own distinctive needs and desires.

  • Hi Carl. You make a good point. It is often at moments of crisis that our beliefs and values become more malleable. That it, in part, because we become less averse to risk when we assume that the status quo is unsustainable.

  • Hi Wendy. Welcome to the course! I am sorry that you had to cancel those trips. But hopefully you can find some material on the BL's website to tide you over. They published a very good guide to their digital holdings a few weeks ago.

  • We will be introducing you to plenty of material of BL material, much of which can be explored online. Welcome to the course!

  • Hi Jon. If you enjoyed the 'Propaganda' course, you should find this one interesting. Myself and many of the other educators have a strong interest in political ideas.

  • @SueHinds That's good to hear! I hope you enjoy the course.

  • Hi Piia. We have some learning steps that relate to the history of concepts and the way in which we can read images as texts. So hopefully that will give you an opportunity to draw upon your existing skills.

  • Hi Cat. I hope you enjoy the course. We will cover plenty of issues relating to archival work, so hopefully it is of use!

  • I hope you enjoy the course!

  • Hi Julia. It is good to see some locals here. The majority of the videos were filmed at University Park, and you will see some of the material that we hold in the library's special collections.

  • @MichaelHardman As David argues in the video, meritocracy is a concept that can acquire many different meanings. But when individuals or groups praise the term, they tend to support some common ideas. Most advocates of meritocratic arrangements would, for example, be enthusiastic about equality of opportunity, even if they might endorse this objectives for...

  • Green and conservationist ideologies are often interesting because they take the non-human world as their conceptual starting-point. As a result, they tend to have very different conceptual structures to the 'major' ideologies of socialism, liberalism and conservatism.

  • One scholar who has written about neo-liberalism, William Davies, suggests that neo-liberalism is a project that attempts to replace politics with economics. That notion could explain the proliferation of economic language that @PenelopeBell is hinting at. You can see an article by Davies here:

  • I think your point raises some interesting questions about the relationship between language and concepts. We could ask, for instance, whether we need to have a word for a concept in order for it to exist as a social entity.

  • @MaryAnnLancaster I am glad that you are enjoying the course! And I think your point raises an interesting question: what is it that brings about changes in the meaning of words? Is it individuals who innovate in their use of language? Or is it broad social and economic changes that are the cause of semantic change?