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Credit and Community

Credit and Community Working-Class Debt in the UK since 1880

  • Author:
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • ISBN: 9780199263318
  • Published In: January 2009
  • Format: Hardback , 320 pages
  • Jurisdiction: U.K. ? Disclaimer:
    Countri(es) stated herein are used as reference only

List Price: HKD 1,203.50

HKD 1,167.40 Save HKD 36.10 (3%)

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  • Description 
  • Contents 
  • Author 
  • Reviews
  • Details

    • Examines the major forms of consumer credit used within working class communities
    • Reveals the exploitation of the 'sub-prime' working class market since 1880
    • Provides the first history of the UK credit union movement
    • The only full historical investigation of doorstep and illegal moneylending

    Credit and Community examines the history of consumer credit and debt in working class communities. Concentrating on forms of credit that were traditionally very dependent on personal relationships and social networks, such as mail-order catalogues and co-operatives, it demonstrates how community-based arrangements declined as more impersonal forms of borrowing emerged during the twentieth century.

    Tallymen and check traders moved into doorstep moneylending during the 1960s, but in subsequent decades the loss of their best working class customers, owing to increased spending power and the emergence of a broader range of credit alternatives, forced them to focus on the 'financially excluded'. This 'sub-prime' market was open for exploitation by unlicensed lenders, and Sean O'Connell offers the first detailed historical investigation of illegal moneylending in the UK, encompassing the 'she usurers' of Edwardian Liverpool and the violent loan sharks of Blair's Britain.

    O'Connell contrasts such commercial forms of credit with formal and informal co-operative alternatives, such as 'diddlum clubs', 'partners', and mutuality clubs. He provides the first history of the UK credit unions, revealing the importance of Irish and Caribbean immigrant volunteers, and explains the relative failure of the movement compared with Ireland. 

    Drawing on a wide range of neglected sources, including the archives of consumer credit companies, the records of the co-operative and credit union movements, and government papers, Credit and Community makes a strong contribution to historical understandings of credit and debt. Oral history testimony from both sides of the credit divide is used to telling effect, offering key insights into the complex nature of the relationship between borrowers and lenders.

     

    Readership: Students and scholars interested in British social and cultural history; those interested in the history of credit and debt

  • Introduction. On easy terms? Borrowing and lending in the working class community
    1: Credit on the doorstep: the tallymen
    2: The rise of the Provident system: check trading
    3: Retail capitalism in the parlour: mail order catalogues
    4: The moneylender unmasked
    5: Doorstep moneylending since the 1950s
    6: Formal and informal co-operative credit
    7: Renewed hope for mutuality: credit unions
    Conclusion. Easy terms remain elusive

  • Sean O'Connell, Senior Lecturer, School of History and Anthropology, Queen's University, Belfast

  • "[A] careful and thorough studyof the role of credit in working-class communities in Britain from the late nineteenth century to the present... [an] informative study." - Peter Gurney, 20th century british history.

    "Credit's centrality to the current economic crisis makes the publication of Sean O'Connell's social history of working-class credit consumption particularly timely. Although the credit crunch came too late to be included in this book, the portrait of a complex relationship between lenders and borrowers over the past 120 years should be required reading for those suggesting we are living on the brink of a new economic epoch." - Times Higher Education

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