The Trade Union Badge: Material Culture in Action, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Trade Union Badge

Material Culture in Action, 1st Edition

By Paul Martin


228 pages

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Hardback: 9780754603245
pub: 2002-04-28

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Much of the nineteenth-century British labour movement was characterised by impressive membership emblems. The lapel badge emerged towards the end of the century and signalled a further outward expression of self-worth, affording the trade union member a personal symbol of a collective identity. This study of the history of the trade union badge provides an insight into the use and importance of visual symbolism in everyday life. It asserts the validity of such popular material culture as a lens through which to study underlying issues of identity and belonging, which are key themes in collecting. Whilst centred on the British trade union movement, the book draws substantially on Ireland, Australia and the USA for comparison, and to set the badge's importance in an international perspective.


'… moves us forward… The book intends to remind labour historians that the iconography and underlying sociological significance of the union badge should not be overlooked. I think it succeeds and recommend it accordingly.' Trade Union Badge Collectors News

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword; General preface to the series; Preface; Introduction: Here we go, Here we go, Here we go; How we got here; Chapter 1: Of emblems, banners and badges: the triple alliance; Chapter 2: The lapel emblazoned: the origins and development of the trade union badge; Chapter 3: To fight, to struggle, to right the wrong: the badge and the struggle for union recognition; Chapter 4: An epoch of minority symbolism? The pervasion of the badge and the contraction of the union; Chapter 5: The manufacturers; Chapter 6: Collect and display: post function; Chapter 7: This is what I am; Appendix 1: Selected replies to the Labour Research survey; Appendix 2: The badge and medallion in song and rhyme; Appendix 3: Kokuro / ITF survey questionnaire; Appendix 4: The history of Thomas Fattorini Ltd.; Appendix 5: Explanations of two badge designs; Bibliography; Index.

About the Series

Perspectives on Collecting

Perspectives on Collecting
Contrary to general traditional belief, the origins of collecting, as a systematic activity that refers to the satisfaction of symbolic rather than actual needs, was not an invention of the Renaissance. Collecting made its first appearance in European prehistory, was a subject of interest and debate for the ancient Greeks and Romans, and has been present continuously ever since. The books in this series are intended to discuss the phenomena of collecting from ancient times to the modern day. They seek to cast light, not only on the types objects that have been collected, but also on how such objects were acquired, and the political, social and personal motivations for creating collections.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General