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Title: The British Consumer Co-operative Movement and film, 1896-1970
Author: Burton, Alan George
ISNI:       0000 0001 1447 2998
Awarding Body: De Montfort University
Current Institution: De Montfort University
Date of Award: 2000
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The British Consumer Co-operative Movement was a pioneer of the industrial film. The Movement engaged with cinema from the late 1890s and film was used to promote its ideals and trade well into the twentieth century. Existing studies of Labour cinema in Britain have paid little attention to the film propaganda of Co-operators and this thesis challenges the historiography for being too concerned with a narrowly defined political activism and chronologically restricted to the decade 1929-1939. An examination of the cinema of Co-operation reveals a far broader engagement with film; both in terms of its role in promoting a moralistic form of distribution, which sought to replace Capitalism and the exploitative profit system; and in the Movement's notable achievements with film both before and after the pre-World War two decade. The thesis begins by considering the treatment of the Co-operative Movement by Labour historians, and demonstrates an equal diminishing of its role in workers' cultural and economic struggle as that characteristic of Labour film scholars. The historiographical analysis is succeeded by an examination of the culture of Co-operation, considering the Movement as an alternative and oppositional formation to the dominant society, and proceeds to survey some of the principal cultural and recreational activities and formations sponsored by Co-op Societies: education, drama, music, sport, holidays and the family. The historiographical and cultural analysis contextually informs the succeeding historical examination of the Co-operative Movement's engagement with film in the period 1896-1970. This work arises out of a close inspection of the primary evidence preserved in the wealth of literature put out by the Movement. The observations and conclusions presented here are significantly informed by a reading and analysis of the numerous Movement films, the majority of which have never been consulted by film scholars before, and have come to light and been preserved as a part of the research conducted for the thesis. A detailed critical filmography, presented as an appendix, supplements the thesis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available