‘Financial Consumerism’: citizenship, consumerism and capital ownership in the 1980s

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Amy Edwards

Colleges, School and Institutes


Popular capitalism provides a useful case study to reveal the overt mechanisms of Thatcherism as well as the concealed and coincidental. The Party’s programmes of council house sales and privatisation have rightly been understood as a central part of popular capitalism. However, Thatcherism relied on far more than just the actions of the Conservative Party alone. This article explores the role of financial institutions in creating an institutional framework which enabled the British public to engage with popular capitalism. In doing so it builds on existing work on Thatcherism as a political and cultural project by considering both the ideological and institutional mechanisms through which economic elements of Thatcherism were normalised. In particular it explores the term ‘financial consumerism’ as a useful moniker for Thatcherism which moves beyond popular capitalism and allows a consideration of wider questions about consumer society, participation and social inclusion.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-229
Number of pages20
JournalContemporary British History
Issue number2
Early online date20 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Thatcherism, consumerism, finance, popular capitalism, citizenship