What Was a British Buy? Empire, Europe and the Politics of Patriotic Trade in Britain, c.1945–1963
During the 1920s and 1930s, tens of thousands of Britons participated in campaigns which encouraged shoppers to buy goods from the UK and other parts of the Empire. However, after 1945 consumer movements became increasingly national and insular in focus. This chapter traces post-war shifts in the politics of consumption, showing how government and civil society groups articulated competing consumer appeals of Empire/Commonwealth preference, economic nationalism and Europeanism at a time of geo-political uncertainty. Over the period as a whole, the public representation of the idealised consumer emerged as a figure with loyalties which were now primarily national rather than imperial, or post-imperial.
We would like to thank David Higgins and Stuart Ward for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this chapter.