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    Political culture and political economy: interest, ideology and free trade

    Trentmann, Frank (1998) Political culture and political economy: interest, ideology and free trade. Review of International Political Economy 5 (2), pp. 217-251. ISSN 0969-2290.

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    This article explores the significance of ideas, values and collective representations in shaping political economy by examining the case of free trade in late Victorian and Edwardian Britain. Its aim is to tie a historical perspective on the importance of political culture to the current methodological debate about political economy in the social sciences. The opening critique of sectoral approaches is used to move the focus from material interests and economistic method to cultural significance and the interpretative framework underlying free trade. Shifting the attention to the knowledge of historical actors themselves reveals the formative role of ideology, historical memory and political language in constructing free trade as a collective good. Free trade was associated with a historical vision of national identity and societal self-development, and a moral ideal of the consumer, rather than with free market capitalism. The discussion concludes with some general thoughts on the importance of giving greater attention to political culture in the study of political economy.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): political, culture, political, economy, free trade, ideology, interest, British, liberalism, radicalism
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2017 12:43
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:32


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