A closed elite? Bristol’s Society of Merchant Venturers and the abolition of slave trading


Böhm, Timo ; Hillmann, Henning


URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/S0198-871920150000029007
Dokumenttyp: Buchkapitel
Erscheinungsjahr: 2015
Buchtitel: Chartering capitalism : organizing markets, states, and publics
Titel einer Zeitschrift oder einer Reihe: Political power and social theory
Band/Volume: 29
Seitenbereich: 147-175
Autor/Hrsg. des Buches
(nur der Erstgenannte!)
:
Erikson, Emily
Ort der Veröffentlichung: Bradford [u.a.]
Verlag: Emerald Group Publ.
ISBN: 978-1-78560-093-7 ; 978-1-78560-092-0
Sprache der Veröffentlichung: Englisch
Einrichtung: Außerfakultäre Einrichtungen > MZES - Arbeitsbereich A
Fakultät für Sozialwissenschaften > Economic and Organizational Sociology (Hillmann 2009-)
Fachgebiet: 300 Sozialwissenschaften, Soziologie, Anthropologie
Abstract: Why, despite clear economic incentives, did eighteenth-century slave traders fail to defend their business interests against the abolition campaign? We focus on the outport of Bristol as a case in point. Our main argument is that slave traders lacked an organizational basis to translate their economic interests into political influence. Supporting evidence from merchant networks over the 1698–1807 period shows that the Society of Merchant Venturers offered such an organizational site for collective political action. Members of this chartered company controlled much of Bristol’s seaborne commerce and held chief elective offices in the municipal government. However, the Society evolved into an organization that represented the interests of a closed elite. High barriers to entry prevented the slave traders from using the Society as a vehicle for political mobilization. Social cohesion among slave traders outside the chartered company hinged on centrally positioned brokers. Yet the broker positions were held by the few merchants who became members of the Society, and who eventually ceased their engagement in slave trading. The result was a fragmented network that undermined the slave traders’ concerted efforts to mobilize against the political pressure of the abolitionist movement.

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Böhm, Timo ; Hillmann, Henning (2015) A closed elite? Bristol’s Society of Merchant Venturers and the abolition of slave trading. Bradford [u.a.] 147-175 [Buchkapitel]



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