Thomas Da Costa Vieira

The British Co-operative Movement and the State: The Struggle for Co-operation and the Political Economy of Discontent Management, 1964-1990.

Supervisors: Professor Peter Burnham and Dr Emma Foster

This thesis investigates the relationship between the British Co-operative Movement and the British state between 1964 and 1990. Thomas contributes to the literature on the British Co-operative Movement, and more specifically its relationship with the British state, firstly by uncovering the significance of a previously unexplored historical period. Secondly, Thomas challenges the literature’s instrumentalist assumptions and provide the thesis with a more consistent explanation of state behaviour towards the Co-operative Movement and model throughout time. He does so by subscribing to an Open Marxist approach, which sees the state as the manager of accumulation, class struggle and economic relations, and the guardian of capitalist relations and rationality more widely.

Thomas' central argument is that the British state tends to perceive the co-operative model as deviating from the rules and compulsions of the market order, seek to resist political demands for its expansion — while pushing the co-operative form and its supporters to accept those tenets. He argues that from 1964 to 1990 governments have pursued this objective notably through the tactics of depoliticisation, which he sees as an attempt to separate Co-operation, the Co-operative Movement and the co-operative model from their “unviable” and “problematic” content, while simultaneously instrumentalising their most “satisfactory” and “reasonable” aspects. Ultimately, the objective of such strategies is to discipline and eliminate demands for state support for Co-operation, by pushing the Co-operative Movement and model to accept the need for austerity, competitiveness and self-sufficiency upon which the capitalist status quo rests.

Profile

Thomas is a final year PhD student looking at how the British state has historically managed the Co-operative Movement’s demands for the economic and political expansion of the co-operative model through tactics of depoliticisation and discontent management. 

Qualifications

  • BA European and International Studies (Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines)
  • MSc International Development (Environment, Sustainability and Politics) (University of Birmingham)

Teaching responsibilities

Thomas has been providing teaching on the following modules:

  • Understanding Political Economy (University of Birmingham)
  • Environment and Climate Crisis (SOAS University)

Research interests

  • (Green) Political Economy
  • British Politics
  • Environmental Politics
  • Alternatives to Capitalism

Conference papers

Conference attendance

The Elimination of Political Demands: Ordoliberalism, the Big Society and the Depoliticisation of Co-operatives, Politics and IR Annual Conference (University of Nottingham), 20 June 2019.

The Elimination of Political Demands: Ordoliberalism, the Big Society and the Depoliticisation of Co-operatives, Government and Society Annual Conference (University of Birmingham), 29 April 2019.

The Elimination of Political Demands: Ordoliberalism, the Big Society and the Depoliticisation of Co-operatives, Economic Policy-Making Institutions at the State/Market Frontier Workshop (University of Warwick), 18 March 2019.

The Capitalist State in Crisis: Tracing France and Britain’s Support for Workers Cooperatives, PSA Early Career Network Annual Conference (University of Sheffield), 28 June 2018.

Tracing State Action in Economic and Ecological Crisis: France and Britain’s Support for Workers Cooperatives, Government and Society Annual Conference (University of Birmingham), 19 April 2018. 

Publications

Da Costa Vieira, T., Foster, E. A. (2021) ‘The Elimination of Political Demands: Ordoliberalism, the Big Society and the Depoliticization of Co-operatives’, Competition & Change, March. Available at: doi:10.1177/10245294211003292.

Da Costa Vieira, T. (2019) 'The Path to Workers' Control’, Capital & Class, 43 (1), pp. 187-193. Available at: doi:10.1177/0309816819827230b.

Contact:

Email: TPD688@bham.ac.uk