The history of rural life is a history of technology.
In this interview, we explore the machinery, systems of distribution and technological innovations that transformed many Irish rural communities when they adopted the cooperative model in the late 19th century.
Historian Patrick Doyle of the University of Manchester opens his account of the Irish cooperatives with a description of a simple but revolutionary machine – the cream separator – and shows how it connected the butter-producing Irish farm to the grand technological enterprises of British imperialism and international trade.
How did Irish nationalism regard the cooperatives? What was the Catholic Church’s attitude to the sharing economy? Was this an assault on private property, on the British Empire, or simply on rural poverty?
Patrick Doyle is Hallsworth Research Fellow in the Department of History at the University of Manchester. His book that we discuss in this episode is: Civilising Rural Ireland: The Co-operative Movement, Development and the Nation-State, 1889-1939, published by Manchester University Press and available here.
Luke Gibbons wrote a review essay on Patrick’s book in the Dublin Review of Books in November 2019. Read the essay here.
We at Field Day are proud to be sponsored by the Dublin Review of Books.