The past, present and future of banking history

Authored by: Christopher L. Colvin

The Routledge Companion to Business History

Print publication date:  December  2016
Online publication date:  December  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415855563
eBook ISBN: 9780203736036
Adobe ISBN: 9781135007836


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Banking history as a field of inquiry is the historical study of banks and other financial intermediaries, of bankers and financiers and of the business of banking and the banking of business. Often considered a subfield of business history, scholars who self-identify as banking historians traditionally craft context-rich descriptions of the operations of a single bank or a country’s entire banking sector, or write historical narratives recounting an important chain of events at some critical juncture in the history of that bank or sector. Banking historians usually rely on qualitative archival evidence and public sources written by key decision-makers and outside observers, contemporary to the events being described. This scholarly tradition tends to be idiographic in nature, focusing on contingency and agency.

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