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Consumption in lieu of Membership: Reconfiguring Popular Charitable Action in Post-World War II Britain

Abstract

The year 1947 saw the opening of Oxfam’s first permanent charity shop on Broad Street in Oxford. It was the prototype of what was soon to become a national franchise of Oxfam shops and it marked the genesis of widespread popular engagement with charity in the form of consumption. Donations and purchases of goods in this second-hand shop space were not simply a financial means to a humanitarian end, these shops offered active engagements with the charity; engagements that shaped donor and shopper knowledge of the organisation and that cemented a particular form of charity participation. This interdisciplinary analysis contributes to an emerging body of historical and geographical scholarship that is exploring the intersection between charitable action and consumption by beginning to fill a lacuna of research on the development of charity shopping as a key form of popular philanthropic action.

Résumé

C’est au cours de l’année 1947 que s’est ouverte à Oxford sur Broad Street la première boutique permanente de fripes d’Oxfam. Il s’est agi du prototype de ce qui allait bientôt devenir une franchise nationale de boutiques Oxfam et ceci a marqué la naissance d’un engagement populaire généralisé en faveur du don caritatif sous la forme d’une consommation. Les dons et les achats dans ces espaces de vêtements et objets d’occasion ne représentaient pas simplement un moyen financier assorti d’une finalité humanitaire, car ces boutiques proposaient des engagements actifs en faveur de l’organisation caritative. Ces engagements ont déterminé une connaissance de l’organisation par le donateur et l’acheteur et ont cimenté une forme particulière de participation à l’œuvre de bienfaisance. Cette analyse interdisciplinaire est une contribution à un corpus émergent de recherche historique et géographique qui explore l’intersection entre l’action caritative et la consommation. Elle initie le comblement d’une carence quant à la recherche sur le développement des achats auprès d’œuvres de bienfaisance comme une forme clé d’action philanthropique populaire.

Zusammenfassung

Im Jahr 1947 wurde Oxfams erstes dauerhaftes Wohltätigkeitsgeschäft auf der Broad Street in Oxford eröffnet. Es war der Prototyp des bald folgenden landesweiten Franchise-Unternehmens von Oxfam Shops und die Entstehung eines verbreiteten und beliebten Wohltätigkeitsengagements in Form von Konsum. Spenden und Warenkäufe in diesen Secondhand-Läden waren nicht nur ein finanzielles Mittel zur Erreichung eines humanitären Zwecks, sondern die Läden ermöglichten auch ein aktives Engagement in dieser Wohltätigkeitsorganisation; ein Engagement, das die Kenntnis der Spender und Kunden über die Organisation verankerte und eine spezielle Art der Wohltätigkeitsbeteiligung festigte. Die vorliegende interdisziplinäre Analyse leistet einen Beitrag zu einer sich bildenden Institution historischer und geographischer Wissenschaft, die die Schnittstelle zwischen wohltätigem Handeln und Konsum untersucht, indem sie allmählich die Lücke in der Forschung zur Entwicklung des Charity-Shoppings als eine wichtige Form beliebter philanthropischer Handlung schließt.

Resumen

El año 1947 vio la apertura de la primera tienda benéfica permanente de Oxfam en Broad Street en Oxford. Fue el prototipo de lo que pronto iba a convertirse en una franquicia nacional de tiendas Oxfam y marcó la génesis del amplio compromiso popular con la organización benéfica en forma de consumo. Los donativos y las compras de productos en este espacio de tienda de segunda mano no fueron simplemente un medio financiero hacia un fin humanitario, estas tiendas ofrecían compromisos activos con la organización benéfica; compromisos que dieron forma al conocimiento de la organización por parte del donante y del comprador y que cimentaron una forma particular de participación benéfica. El presente análisis interdisciplinar contribuye a un corpus emergente de doctrina histórica y geográfica que está explorando la intersección entre la acción benéfica y el consumo comenzando a llenar una laguna de investigación sobre el desarrollo de las compras benéficas como una forma clave de acción filantrópica popular.

摘要

1947年,“乐施会”的第一间永久性慈善商店于牛津百老汇街开张。以此为模板,“乐施会”特许经营商店在全国范围迅速发展起来。这标志着普罗大众以消费方式参与慈善活动的发端。在此二手商店里捐赠与购买物品,其意义远不只是以经济手段实现人道主义目的;这些商店还积极参与慈善活动;该种参与,塑造了该组织在捐赠者与购买者心中的形象,形成并巩固了一种特殊的慈善参与形式。本跨学科分析属于新兴的历史与地理学术研究范畴,研究了发展慈善商店这一主要的大众慈善参与形式,填补了该研究领域的空白,探讨了慈善活动与商品消费的结合部。

要約

1947 年のオックスフォードのブロード・ストリートにおいて、オックスファムの永続的なチャリティー・ショップのオープニングがあった。すぐにオックスファム・ショップは全国フランチャイズのプロトタイプになり、消費の形における慈善との関わりで広まり、人気の発端となった。寄付とこの中古品店の空間における商品の購入は人道上の経済的な手段であるだけでなく、慈善における活動的な業務、組織における資金提供者と買い物客の知識の形成、慈善団体の参加における特定の形式を提示した。この学際的な分析から、慈善団体で人気のある活動としてショッピングの開発における研究の欠落を埋めることによって、慈善活動と消費の間に交差する歴史的および地理的な資金構築における新たな組織を提供するといえる。

ملخص

شهد عام 1947 إفتتاح أول متجر خيري دائم أوكسفام (Oxfam) في شارع واسع في أكسفورد. كان نموذج أولي و أصبح سريعا˝ إمتياز وطني للمحلات التجارية (Oxfam) وانه يمثل نشأة المشاركة الشعبية على نطاق واسع مع جمعية خيرية في شكل إستهلاك. التبرعات والمشتريات من السلع المستعملة في مساحة المتجرلم تكن مجرد وسيلة مالية إلى نهاية الإنسانية، عرضت هذه المحلات التعاقدات النشطة مع المؤسسة الخيرية ؛ التعاقدات التي شكلت المانحين ومعرفة المتسوقين للمنظمة وهذا رسخ شكل معين لمشاركة الأعمال الخيرية. يساهم هذا التحليل المتعدد التخصصات في هيئة ناشئة من المنح الدراسية التاريخية والجغرافية التي تدرس التقاطع بين العمل الخيري والإستهلاك من خلال البدء في ملء ثغرة من الأبحاث على تطوير التسوق الخيري كشكل رئيسي من أشكال العمل الخيري الشعبي.

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Acknowledgments

I would like to give a special thanks to Prof. Bertrand Taithe at the University of Manchester, who provided invaluable ideas and comments throughout the writing of this paper. I would also like to thank Dr. Jonathan Darling for excellent advice during the editing process. A final acknowledgement must go to Samuel Kilby, who showed infallible patience during the early idea-forming phase of writing.

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Correspondence to Jessica A. Field.

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Field, J.A. Consumption in lieu of Membership: Reconfiguring Popular Charitable Action in Post-World War II Britain. Voluntas 27, 979–997 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11266-014-9460-3

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Keywords

  • Oxfam
  • Charity
  • Consumption
  • Membership
  • Cecil Jackson-Cole