Seeking papers on the theory and practice of 'thrift' for special issue of established journal

Alison Hulme's picture
Call for Papers
April 22, 2018
Subject Fields: 
Economic History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Political History / Studies, World History / Studies, Social History / Studies

I am seeking 2-3 more papers for a special issue of the journal New Formations that focusses on the concept and practice of thrift/thriftyness. 

This special issue looks at the concept of thrift in historical perspective, from early Puritan thought, through the Victorian and inter-war eras, to the present day. In doing so, it seeks to explore the ways in which thrift has moved from its original etymological meaning of thriving, to its more common contemporary meaning of economic frugality. Through this, it aims to challenge the way past conceptions of thrift have made their way into current thinking around austerity and financial responsibility.

Papers accepted so far, focus on:

The case of late nineteenth century London, the morals of Samuel Smiles, and how contemporary observers struggled to accommodate theories of political economy to the workings of the market they observed

The disintegration of Benjamin Franklin’s version of thrift through a literary analysis of nineteenth century American literature, especially the work of Edith Wharton

Green thrift and climate change - whether thrift can be more than the logic of a consumer-industrial society and part of a move towards a society focused on the flourishing and resilience of humans and ecosystems

The thrift of Thoreau; how to address the criticisms of his 'individualistic thrift' and read his final (redsicovered) works as a manifesto for a more communal thrift.

Papers on war-time rationing and thrift, or race and thrift would be particularly welcome, but all ideas are gratefully recieved. Feel free to email to discuss ideas before submitting an abstract.

As a collection of papers, this special issue aims to dig deep into the history of the concept of thrift and look to past advocates of it, in order to understand how today’s rhetoric (including that on austerity) has been built and indeed qualified. It does so by welcoming the offerings of writers from a diverse range of academic disciplines and perspectives – history, literary studies, economics, philosophy and cultural studies.

Please submit an abstract (200-500 words), and short bio (200 words max) to



Contact Info: 

Dr Alison Hulme

University of Northampton