For years scholars have maintained that Social Credit was a protest on the part of small-scale farmers, who fought against their disadvantaged position in advanced capitalism by rejecting central Canada's control of the prairie region. The protest is usually described as conservative and its supporters portrayed as small agrarian capitalists who combined their opposition to regional exploitation with a firm commitment to capitalism. Based on a review of census materials on occupations, election results, and the party's statements and appeals, Bell reveals that this traditional interpretation is misguided on several counts. He provides a greatly revised picture of the movement's popular class base and its goals and motives, and shows that it was far more radical than commonly believed. The theory of social movements Bell draws from this analysis is applicable not only to Social Credit but to social movements in general. Social Classes and Social Credit in Alberta will be of particular interest to sociologists, political scientists, and historians concerned with Canadian social movements and elections and the political history of the Great Depression.
Edward Bell is a photographer, designer, and artist living in Wales. Having studied at Chelsea School of Art and the Royal College of Art, he went on to work as a freelance photographer and illustrator for Vogue, Tattler, and Elle magazines.