Working through industrial absence: Scotland’s community business movement and the moral economies of deindustrialisation in the 1980s and 1990s

Gillian Murray*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Building on scholarship that has sought to trace how moral economies interact and change over time, and their value for understanding Scotland’s experience of deindustrialisation in particular, this article investigates the formative experiences of Scotland’s community business pioneers and how they shaped a moral economy response to deindustrialisation and Thatcherism. The working-class moral economy terms of ‘economic security’ and ‘control of resources’ remained central to this episode of moral economy action. However, a ‘new’ crowd, drawing on the values of co-operation brought community and workplace activist traditions together to protect expectations of justice and fairness. Oral histories recorded with community business pioneers, provide insight into how the skills and built environment of the industrial past were used by the community business movement as community assets to build new futures. Building an ‘ownership consciousness’ around local assets was crucial to community repair, not only materially, but also in terms of their narrative representations of these areas. Just as the transference of the working-class moral economy had political consequences, the history of Scotland’s community business pioneers reveals how the moral economy was finding expression in civil society and driving the shape of Scotland’s social economy in the process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-402
Number of pages23
JournalContemporary British History
Volume36
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2022

Keywords

  • community business
  • community development
  • Deindustrialisation
  • moral economy
  • social economy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Development
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations

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