This book surveys ‘thrift’ through its moral, religious, ethical, political, spiritual and philosophical expressions, focusing in on key moments such as the early Puritans and postwar rationing, and key characters such as Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Smiles and Henry Thoreau. The relationships between thrift and frugality, mindfulness, sustainability and alternative consumption practices are explained, and connections made between myriad conceptions of thrift and contemporary concerns for how consumer cultures impact scarce resources, wealth distribution and the Anthropocene. Ultimately, the book returns the reader to an understanding of thrift as it was originally used – to ‘thrive’ – and attempts to re-cast thrift in more collective, economically egalitarian terms, reclaiming it as a genuinely resistant practice. Students, scholars and general readers across all disciplines and interest areas will find much of interest in this book, which provides a multi-disciplinary look at a highly topical concept.

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Frugality, de-growth and Voluntary Simplicity

92 7 Ecological thrift: frugality, de-​growth and Voluntary Simplicity Thrift as a tool for de-​growth Discourses around frugality and the environment are by no means new, and voices from across academic disciplines call for thrift from a broadly ecological standpoint, and have done for many decades. Several well-​researched and bestselling reports on the threatened state of the global environment saw public awareness grow from the 1970s onwards. Key amongst these was Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962) and the Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth report (1972

in A brief history of thrift
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chap 3.qxd 2/2/06 2:00 pm Page 108 3 The art of love The publication of Written on the Body in 1992 marked a change from the structural complexity of Sexing the Cherry, with its duplications and intertwining of narrative voices and historical periods, by turning back to the simplicity of the single narrative voice of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. However, as in Winterson’s first novel, this simplicity is more apparent than real; in the case of Written on the Body because the gender and physical aspect of the autodiegetic narrator are never made explicit

in Jeanette Winterson
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Rewriting the English lyric landscape

the need to distance himself stylistically as well as morally from the rest, which were, as discussed earlier, politically charged. He had no need to fit himself into the accepted form of pastoral landscape, with its uncomfortable juxtapositions of social anxieties imported from the Court and simple, honest shepherd-songsters. He did not need to adopt the semblance of rustic simplicity to give him moral authority, he was a

in Robert Southwell

Skriker, Far Away and A Number, all of which are discussed in this chapter, rely on the in-built expectations within these forms of an unambiguous resolution of difficulties, which Churchill is then able to subvert. In The Skriker, she reconfigures fairy stories in order to create her own dramatic parable about the imminence of ecological disaster. Far Away and A Number utilise the apparent simplicities of the whodunnit to explore complex notions of culpability. In A Number, this results in an investigation into the nature of both parental responsibility and human

in Playing for time
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to theories of visual meaning in Television Studies discourses. It also requires a discussion of the prevalent motif identified by Beckett critics of increasing formal simplicity or minimalism in his theatre, prose and media works. It has been argued that Beckett’s persistence with the unfamiliar and problematic television and film media was a way of moving towards a ‘language’ of pure visual form, through the spatial and abstract qualities of the television image, and its manipulability by technological means (for instance superimposition, exaggeration or paring

in Beckett on screen
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Advice, etiquette and expectation

was encouraged when dressing, revealing that the femininity idealized in journey etiquette was that which valued simplicity and restraint rather than showiness. Dressing too elaborately was vulgar, and women would again not be considered lady journeyers if they did. How to Travel warned that j 82 J no nice girl swears If  .  .  .  you are perpetually changing your dress, appearing in new colours every day, and endeavouring to attract attention, you will be regarded as a vulgar woman who has seen nothing of the world, whom it is desirable to avoid, or the walking

in Women, travel and identity
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Framing post-Cold War conflicts

civilians associated with groups defined as evil to be ignored, minimised or justified. The disturbing feature of many accounts, including those in the media, which explain post-Cold War conflicts in terms of genocide is that the quest for moral simplicity involves distortion. In Bosnia, the adoption of this framework seriously impeded understanding of the nature of the conflict, apparently deliberately, as

in Framing post-Cold War conflicts
The episodic situation comedy revisited

The question of what counts as an innovative feature in the development of a sitcom is difficult because in some ways we are talking about a framework so simple and so easy to recognise that the sitcom is, literally, child’s play. (Feuer 2001 :69) This essay takes a second look at the apparent simplicities of the situation comedy, comparing some ‘classic’ 1960s and 1970s British sitcoms with a more recent example, The Office (BBC 2001–3), with the aim of clarifying the relationship of narrative form to ideological and historical content. I have

in Popular television drama

particularly high unemployment thousands of men migrated to England in search of work. For some families this strategy literally was their salvation. But many men who went off to England failed to send money home, thereby compounding the misery of their wives and children. This chapter, in an examination of social conditions and social policies, argues that the nationalist vision of frugality and simplicity translated into a lack of initiative on the part of successive Irish governments, and children paid a particularly high price for that lack of initiative. Standard of

in Precarious childhood in post-independence Ireland