Despite the abundance and quality of recent historical writing on consumerism, it cannot be said that the modern Co-operative movement (Co-op) has been well served. It has also been by-passed in studies that locate Britons' identity in their consumption. The reasons for this can be found in the widely perceived decline of the Co-op since the 1950s, but also in various historiographical agendas that have resulted in its relative invisibility in modern British history. This book, by demonstrating the variety of broader issues that can be addressed through the Co-op and the vibrancy of new historical research into consumption, seeks to remedy this. Taking stock, both of the Co-op in a broader context and of new approaches to the history of consumption, combines the work of leading authorities on the Co-op with recent scholarly research. It explores the Co-op's distinctive interface between everyday issues and grander idealistic concerns. The chapters intersect to examine a broad range of themes, notably: the politics of consumerism including consumer protection, ethical and fair trading and alternatives to corporate commerce; design and advertising; the Co-op's relations with other components of the labour movement; and its ideology, image and memory. The collection looks at the Co-operative movement locally (through specific case studies), nationally and also in comparison to the European movement.This collection will appeal to academics, researchers, teachers and students of the economic, cultural and political history of twentieth-century Britain. It will also be of interest to academics and students of business studies, and co-operative members themselves. -- .
Consumerism and the Co-operative Movement in Modern British History
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