The materials included in 1980s Society and Culture have been selected in close collaboration with academic subject experts, collections specialists at participating libraries and archives, and under the guidance of the Editorial Board. This resource details the cultural and societal changes of a ‘boom and bust’ decade, in which some individuals reaped significant benefits whilst others experienced huge disenfranchisement. The varied selection of material has been guided by key thematic areas developed in consultation with the Editorial Board.

With a focus on grassroots materials by under-represented voices, these sources are presented alongside government records to showcase key domestic concerns and countercultural movements of the decade. The primary geographic focus is on the United States and the United Kingdom to examine the rise of conservatism during the Reagan and Thatcher administrations. These are complemented with collections from Australia and Canada to reflect the global spread of countercultural movements. 

Material has been sourced from the following archives:

  • Bowling Green State University
  • British Film Institute
  • Interference Archive
  • Library and Archives Canada
  • Mirrorpix
  • The Modern Records Centre, The University of Warwick
  • The National Archives, UK
  • Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum
  • Sequoyah National Research Center, University of Arkansas, Little Rock
  • State Library of New South Wales
  • The Strong National Museum of Play

To learn more about these collections sourced from these archives, visit the Guide to Archival Collections page.        


A note on exclusions

A lengthy process of discussion between many different archives, libraries and museums has resulted in the ten Participating Libraries that contribute to the resource. Where exclusions have been made, this has been due to:

  • The need to include a range of document types.
  • Existing open-access content.
  • Copyright and permission considerations.
  • Data protection concerns.