From the authors


A brief introduction to the new edition.

Welcome to Access to English: Social Studies, a textbook for the five-hour course in English with a focus on social studies (Samfunnsfaglig engelsk – programfag i studiespesialiserende utdanningsprogram). Our revision brings the book up to date with regard to recent social, economic and political developments in the English-speaking world, with particular reference to the UK and the USA. These are times of great change in both countries, and in the world as a whole, and our aim has been to throw light on some of the underlying forces bringing about these changes and to invite discussion about their consequences.

The new edition follows a structure that will be familiar to those who have used other textbooks in the Access series. Each of the six chapters contains a Focus text – or, in the case of chapters 5 and 6, two Focus texts. These have been specially written to provide you with a clear, up-to-date overview of the themes dealt with in the chapter. Embedded in these Focus texts there are short, authentic texts ("cases") taken from various sources that exemplify, support or elaborate on these themes. In addition each chapter has longer texts – some factual and some literary – that provide independent perspectives and an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of particular aspects of the issues dealt with.

Chapters 1 and 2 provide a historical background to the UK and the USA respectively, focusing on the forces that have shaped the two countries as we know them today. Chapters 3 and 4 deal with the countries’ political systems and traditions and how they continue to impact on present-day political life. Chapters 5 and 6 deal with the social challenges and tensions that characterise British and American societies today and take an in-depth look at two specific issues – Devolution in the UK and Black America.

While the texts in the book concern the field of social studies, we would emphasise that Access to English: Social Studies is primarily designed to improve your English-language skills. For each text there is a wide range of tasks dealing with many aspects of language usage and inviting you to put your developing skills into practice, both orally and in writing. The particular skills required at examinations have been given special attention. In addition to these individual tasks, there is a four-part Writing Course at the back of the book aimed at helping you write different genres of text. The new fourth part deals specifically with exam tasks. On the website you will a Text Analysis Course aimed at helping you master the challenging art of writing about texts.

In addition to the textbook, this website provides interactive tasks, updated articles, useful links for the in-depth assignments found in “Digging Deeper”, systematic work on selected films – and much more. The website is free of charge for students, while teacher resources are subject to a license fee. The book itself is available digitally, both as Unibok and Brettbok.


We hope you find using Access to English: Social Studies an enjoyable learning experience!

John Anthony     Richard Burgess      Robert Mikkelsen