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New Left Review I/13-14, January-April 1962

James Kincaid, Raphael Samuel and Elizabeth Slater

But Nothing Happens

1. In Five Years Time

The definition of what constitutes a slum is at any time arbitrary and shifting, depending more upon the vagaries of the English social conscience than upon any precise and identifiable condition. In times of social crisis, when opinion is deeply disturbed the number of slums is generally thought to be very high indeed; at other times the number is thought to be few, and the slum is judged a relic, archaic and outmoded, of a way of life that is fast disappearing. Looked at in this way, the slum can be described as a condition of life which the English public pronounces intolerable, every 20 years or so, and then quietly forgets.

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James Kincaid, Raphael Samuel, Elizabeth Slater, ‘But Nothing Happens’, NLR I/13-14: £3

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