Re-storying bankers: historical antecedents of banker bashing in Britain and America
Whittle and Mueller's discursive psychological analysis of banker storying during the recent British Treasury Select Committee hearings is the latest twist in the financial crisis storytelling genre. Although Whittle and Mueller focus on storytellers' use of classically derived story tropes, they otherwise pay scant attention to how history enters into stories in which bankers are blamed for economic turmoil. The current paper moves beyond their work by showing how culturally transmitted historical narratives provide potent discursive resources for banker bashers. Focusing on the 1920s and 1930s, our examples are the American Catholic priest-cum-broadcaster Charles Coughlin and the British fascist Oswald Mosley. Each drew their banker stories from content-laden, culturally supplied master narratives: traditional American populism and British declinism, respectively. Studying the emplotment of bankers within a nation's deep-seated historical storylines, we argue, is the key to factoring history back into the banker storytelling debate.