Britain in 2011: the state of the nation

19 November 2010

Published on Friday 19 November 2010, Britain in 2011: The state of the nation demonstrates the fast pace of change in society from the recent global recession, the new coalition government, reforms in public services and increasing use of digital social media on our everyday lives. New research findings and expert comment from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the social sciences are gathered in Britain in 2011 magazine. This year’s magazine features articles on:

  • Getting finance to support investment - John Van Reenen argues that the risk of another financial crisis has increased
  • Right to know - Dr Lawrence McNamara’s research into the balance of the government, law, the media and the public interests in relation to terrorist threats
  • A passion for politics - Professor Paul Whiteley comments on the first coalition government since the Second World War, has British politics changed forever?
  • 3D cinema: the billion pound bonanza - Dr Gerben Bakker discusses the impact of the recession on the film industry.
  • The price of protection - could rural land management protect town and cities from flooding?
  • Blurring the boundaries of life - Professor Steve Yearley explains how research into stem cells is redefining life science ethics and regulation
  • Neuroscience, identity and society - New ESRC-funded research in neuroscience by Martyn Pickersgill, is revealing the detailed workings which underlie the brain’s role in determining what we think
  • The Big Society - the challenges of increasing volunteering, charitable giving and civic participation
  • The best days of our lives - new finding from Understanding Society reveals happiness levels in young people.

Paul Boyle, Chief Executive of the ESRC, said: "The publication of Britain in 2011 could not come at a more appropriate or difficult time. Difficult, because as the government gets to grips with the economy it is challenging to predict the effects of the various new policies on society.  But it’s also an appropriate time because the many contributions we’ve included from across the social science community, and the research findings they contain, show that now, more than ever, economic and social science research has a fundamental impact on almost every aspect of our society."

The ESRC funds research across this wide range of issues and contributes to greater knowledge and understanding of the many challenges our society faces. But, importantly, much of this research goes further to propose solutions and show where interventions have a positive effect. Many examples of these important contributions are gathered in Britain in 2011.

Britain in 2011 is available from all major high street retailers and can be ordered over the phone by calling 01242 283100.

For further information contact

For advance sections of the magazine please call:

Notes for editors

  1. Britain in is available in WHSmiths, Travel and High Street shops, Waitrose and Waterstones priced at £5.50. Orders can also be taken by emailing or calling 01242 283103.
  2. Britain in 2011 showcases the diversity of ESRC-funded research around the state of the nation in 2010. The magazine is a mixture of academic opinion pieces alongside informed journalistic writing, offering a concise analysis of research and topical issues concerning Britain today. An entertaining, accessible and informative magazine, Britain in 2011 will appeal to those who enjoy debate and current affairs and have an interest both in social sciences and UK society.
  3. All profit made from the sale of the magazine is reinvested in research communication. The views and statements expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the ESRC.
  4. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC's total expenditure in 2009/10 was about £211 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes.