In the modern post-war period various adjustments within the national system of education have resulted in a succession of controversies regarding the role of English in a democratic society. From the 1940S many educationalists and university policy makers took the view that any modern democratic nation had to be a well-educated nation (or at least to have a welleducated intellectual class, and a revitalized bureaucracy). As a fully-masculinized professional field, the study of English increasingly came to be organized according to hierarchical administration, specialization, and approved modes of scholarship. However, under the pressures from institutional expansion and changes to the student constituency the internal discursive constitution of English was substantially altered, especially in the course of the 1960s. In this period the view of popular culture as degenerate and threatening came to be tempered by new pressures upon English academics to show that the discipline embodied a sense of social responsibility. However, this sense had now to be articulated in new ways. Criteria for student selection had become increasingly 'merit' based and the social constituency from which they were drawn widened slightly. Most important of all, the development of informal pedagogies, the sense of a need to combat the 'problems' of students' home background, and the perceived challenges from new· youth cultures, resulted in the

This was also at the root of altered perspectives on the cultural role of the discipline. Claims that English in education could otTer some more or less democratic alternative to popular culture began to appear immediately after the war. At first contemporary 'mass' society was felt to be conformist, debased, and unimaginative. Thus, English academics came to present the discipline as uniquely suited to producing mature, free, and (in some instances) democratic men, on a model ditTerent to that of the inter-war gentleman of taste and tact. When in the 1960s English was subjected to the pressures of massive institutional change, the new model provided the context for a whole sequence of disciplinary disputes. Indeed, in the course of the latter decade the figure of the 'mature man' became increasingly discredited, or at least challenged as the appropriate basis for the discipline's cultural aims and functions.