Beneath the All-Seeing Eye: Fraternal Order and Friendly Societies' Banners in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Britain

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To succeed, nineteenth-century friendly societies – mutual aid organizations designed to help people protect themselves against problems which arose because of the illness or death of a breadwinner – needed the trust of members, patrons, and potential members. Banners carried on orderly church and civic parades helped to counter opponents' claims of extravagance, trade union activity, or the likelihood of collapse. The words and images on the societies' banners linked them to mutuality, loyalty, mythology, history, trades, locality, empire, and the Bible. They also showed members as a trustworthy and vigilant fictive fraternity with the capacity and willingness to help their brethren.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Faculty of Social Sciences, Open University, Walton Hall, MK6 7AA, UK

Publication date: April 1, 2006

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