The Practical Utopians: American Workers and the Cooperative Movement in the Gilded Age

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9780814331286: The Practical Utopians: American Workers and the Cooperative Movement in the Gilded Age

Between 1865 and 1890, in the aftermath of the Civil War, virtually every important American labor reform organization advocated "cooperation" over "competitive" capitalism and several thousand cooperatives opened for business during this era. The men and women who built cooperatives were practical reformers and they established businesses to stabilize their work lives, families, and communities. Yet they were also utopians-envisioning a world free from conflict where workers would receive the full value of their labor and freely exercise democratic citizenship in the political and economic realms. Their visions of cooperation, though, were riddled with hierarchical notions of race, gender, and skill that gave little specific guidance for running a cooperative.

The Practical Utopians closely examines the experiences of working men and women as they built their cooperatives, contested the meanings of cooperation, and reconciled the realities of the marketplace with their various and often conflicting conceptions of democratic participation. Steve Leikin provides new theories and examples of the failure and successes of the cooperative movement, including how the Gilded Age's most powerful labor organization, the Knights of Labor, collapsed in the face of the expanding industrial economy. Dealing with a critically important yet largely ignored aspect of working-class life during the late nineteenth century, The Practical Utopians brings crucial aspects of the cooperative movement to light and is a necessary study for all scholars of history, labor history, and political science.

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Book Description:

An exploration of the ideological conflicts and practical experiences of late-nineteenth-century American workers who pursued "cooperation" as an alternative to "competitive" capitalism.

About the Author:

Steve Leikin is lecturer for the Department of History at San Francisco State University.

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Book Description Wayne State University Press, United States, 2004. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Between 1865 and 1890, in the aftermath of the Civil War, virtually every important American labour reform organization advocated co-operation over competitive capitalism and several thousand co-operatives opened for business during this era. The men and women who built co-operatives were practical reformers and they established businesses to stabilize their work lives, families and communities. Yet they were also utopians - envisioning a world free from conflict where workers would receive the full value of their labour and freely exercise democratic citizenship in the political and economic realms. Their visions of co-operation, though, were riddled with hierarchical notions of race, gender and skill that gave little specific guidance for running a co-operative. This text examines closely the experiences of working men and women as they built their co-operatives, contested the meanings of co-operation and reconciled the realities of the marketplace with their various and often conflicting conceptions of democratic participation. Steve Leikin provides new theories and examples of the failure and success of the co-operative movement, including how the Gilded Age s most powerful labour organization, the Knights of Labor, collapsed in the face of the expanding industrial economy. Dealing with a critically important yet largely ignored aspect of working-class life during the late 19th century, this text brings crucial aspects of the co-operative movement to light and should be a useful study for all scholars of American history, labour history and political science. Bookseller Inventory # AAN9780814331286

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Steve Leikin
Published by Wayne State University Press, United States (2004)
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Book Description Wayne State University Press, United States, 2004. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Between 1865 and 1890, in the aftermath of the Civil War, virtually every important American labour reform organization advocated co-operation over competitive capitalism and several thousand co-operatives opened for business during this era. The men and women who built co-operatives were practical reformers and they established businesses to stabilize their work lives, families and communities. Yet they were also utopians - envisioning a world free from conflict where workers would receive the full value of their labour and freely exercise democratic citizenship in the political and economic realms. Their visions of co-operation, though, were riddled with hierarchical notions of race, gender and skill that gave little specific guidance for running a co-operative. This text examines closely the experiences of working men and women as they built their co-operatives, contested the meanings of co-operation and reconciled the realities of the marketplace with their various and often conflicting conceptions of democratic participation. Steve Leikin provides new theories and examples of the failure and success of the co-operative movement, including how the Gilded Age s most powerful labour organization, the Knights of Labor, collapsed in the face of the expanding industrial economy. Dealing with a critically important yet largely ignored aspect of working-class life during the late 19th century, this text brings crucial aspects of the co-operative movement to light and should be a useful study for all scholars of American history, labour history and political science. Bookseller Inventory # AAN9780814331286

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