A Global History of Consumer Co-operation since 1850

Movements and Businesses


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With contributions from over 30 scholars, A Global History of Consumer Co-operation surveys the origins and development of the consumer co-operative movement from the mid-nineteenth century until the present day. The contributions, covering the history of co-operation in different national contexts in Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australasia, illustrate the wide variety of forms that consumer co-operatives have taken; the different political, economic and social contexts in which they have operated; the ideological influences on their development; and the reasons for their expansion and decline at different times. The book also explores the connections between co-operatives in different parts of the world, challenging assumptions that the story of global co-operation can be traced exclusively to the 1844 Rochdale Co-operative Society.

Contributors are: Amélie Artis, Nikola Balnave, Patrizia Battilani, Johann Brazda, Susan Fitzpatrick-Behrens, María Eugenia Castelao Caruana, Kay-Wah Chan, Bernard Degen, Danièle Demoustier, Espen Ekberg, Dulce Freire, Katarina Friberg, Mary Hilson, Mary Ip, Florian Jagschitz, Pernilla Jonsson, Kim Hyung-mi, Akira Kurimoto, Simon Lambersens, Catherine C LeGrand, Ian MacPherson, Francisco José Medina-Albaladejo, Alain Mélo, Jessica Gordon Nembhard, Silke Neunsinger, Greg Patmore, Joana Dias Pereira, Michael Prinz, Siegfried Rom, Robert Schediwy, Corrado Secchi, Geert Van Goethem, Griselda Verbeke, Rachael Vorberg-Rugh, Mirta Vuotto, Anthony Webster and John Wilson.

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Mary Hilson (PhD Exeter University, 1998) is Professor of History at Aarhus University, Denmark. She has published on labor and co-operative history especially in the Nordic countries, including the co-edited Co-operatives and the Social Question: The Co-operative Movement in Northern and Eastern Europe (1880-1950) (Welsh Academic Press, 2012).
Silke Neunsinger (PhD Uppsala University, 2001) is associate professor in economic history and director of research at the Swedish labor movement archives and library. She has published extensively on the history of social movements, feminist labor history, global labor history and methodology.
Greg Patmore (PhD University of Sydney, 1985) is Professor of Business and Labor History at the University of Sydney Business School. He specialises in business, labor and co-operative history. His most recent publication is Worker Voice. Employee Representation in Australia, Canada, Germany, the UK and the US 1914-1939 (Liverpool University Press, 2016).
"Anyone working on the cooperative movement will have this book on their bookshelves. It very much assembles the state of the art in the history of consumer cooperation." - Stefan Berger, "What is New in the History of Social Movements?", in: Moving the Social, Volume 59 (2018), pp. 115-127 [DOI: 10.13154/mts.59.2018.115-127]
"By illuminating the divergent histories of consumer cooperative movements in industrialized countries in Europe, North America, and Asia, A Global History makes an important contribution to scholarship. [...] Hilson and her collaborators will remain widely read for decades." - Carl J. Strikwerda, in: International Review of Social History 63:1 (2018), pp. 127–142 [DOI:10.1017/S0020859017000670]
"The book is not uncritical of divisions between co-ops over markets, or of the tensions between cheap goods, colonial production, and ethical matters, or of failures such as the Berkeley co-op. Like its subject, this book is unwieldy, yet worldly; its ambitions are greater than the sum of its parts, but those parts are very rewarding in their detail—and those ambitions are inestimably worthy, enduring, and global." - Lawrence Black, in: Economic History Review 71:2 (2018), pp. 692-694
Acknowledgements List of Illustrations List of Abbreviations Notes on Contributors


1 A Global History of Consumer Co-operation since 1850: IntroductionMary Hilson, Silke Neunsinger and Greg Patmore 2 Co-operative History: Movements and BusinessesMary Hilson

SECTION 1: Origins and Models

Introduction to Section 1Mary Hilson 3 Rochdale and Beyond: Consumer Co-operation in Britain before 1945Mary Hilson 4 The Belgian Co-operative Model: Elements of Success and FailureGeert Van Goethem 5 History of Consumer Co-operatives in France: From the Conquest of Consumption by the Masses to the Challenge of Mass ConsumptionSimon Lambersens, Amélie Artis, Danièle Demoustier and Alain Mélo 6 Consumer Co-operation in the Nordic Countries, c. 1860–1939Mary Hilson 7 Canadian and us Catholic Promotion of Co-operatives in Central America and the Caribbean and Their Political ImplicationsSusan Fitzpatrick-Behrens and Catherine C LeGrand 8 African American Consumer Co-operation: History and Global ConnectionsJessica Gordon Nembhard 9 A Co-operative Take on Free Trade: International Ambitions and Regional Initiatives in International Co-operative TradeKatarina Friberg

SECTION 2: Challenges to Democracy – State Intervention

Introduction to Section 2Silke Neunsinger 10 German Co-operatives: Rise and Fall 1850–1970Michael Prinz 11 The Rise and Fall of Austria’s Consumer Co-operativesJohann Brazda, Florian Jagschitz, Siegfried Rom and Robert Schediwy 12 Consumer Co-operatives in Portugal: Debates and Experiences from the Nineteenth to the Twentieth CenturyDulce Freire and Joana Dias Pereira 13 Consumer Co-operatives in Spain 1860–2010Francisco J Medina-Albaladejo 14 The Experience of the Consumer Co-operative Movement in Korea: Its Break off and RebirthKim Hyung-mi 15 Consumer Co-operatives in the People’s Republic of China – A Development Path Shaped by Its Economic and Political HistoryMary Ip and Kay-Wah Chan

SECTION 3: Challenges to Business

Introduction to Section 3Greg Patmore 16 Managing Consumer Co-operatives: A Historical PerspectiveGreg Patmore and Nikola Balnave 17 Patterns, Limitations and Associations: The Consumer Co-operative Movement in Canada, 1828 to the PresentIan MacPherson 18 Rochdale Consumer Co-operatives in Australia and New ZealandNikola Balnave and Greg Patmore 19 Consumer Co-operation in a Changing Economy: The Case of ArgentinaMirta Vuotto, Griselda Verbeke and María Eugenia Castelao Caruana 20 Fighting Monopoly and Enhancing Democracy: A Historical Overview of us Consumer Co-operativesGreg Patmore 21 Affluence and Decline: Consumer Co-operatives in Postwar BritainCorrado Secchi



Introduction to Section 4Mary Hilson 22 Going Global. The Rise of the cws as an International Commercial and Political Actor, 1863–1950: Scoping an Agenda for Further ResearchAnthony Webster, John F Wilson and Rachael Vorberg-Rugh 23 Consumer Co-operation in Italy: A Network of Co-operatives with a Multi-class ConstituencyPatrizia Battilani 24 Consumer Societies in Switzerland: From Local Self-help Organizations to a Single National Co-operativeBernard Degen 25 From Commercial Trickery to Social Responsibility: Marketing in the Swedish Co-operative Movement in the Early Twentieth CenturyPernilla Jonsson 26 Building Consumer Democracy: The Trajectory of Consumer Co-operation in JapanAkira Kurimoto 27 Against the Tide: Understanding the Commercial Success of Nordic Consumer Co-operatives, 1950–2010Espen Ekberg


28 Conclusion: Consumer Co-operatives Past, Present and FutureSilke Neunsinger and Greg Patmore Bibliography Index
All interested in the co-operative movement, both within education and the co-operative movement; also all with an interest in global histories of consumption, retailing, trade and social movements.
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