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Introduction

Session Leader

For discussion

  1. What does the history of consumption tell us about historical change in the seventeenth and eighteenth century that the history of production did not? Compare the two approaches.
  2. What was the Industrious Revolution?
  3. What are the merits and limitations of looking for a ‘birth’ of consumer society?
Readings
  • Jean-Christophe Agnew, ‘Coming up for Air: Consumer Culture in Historical Perspective’, in John Brewer and Roy Porter, eds., Consumption and the World of Goods (London, 1993), pp. 19-39. (Multiple copies in the library.)
  • John Brewer, ‘The Error of our Ways’, Lecture to the Cultures of Consumption Programme, Royal Society, 23 Sept. 2003. Working Paper No. 12. www.consume.bbk.ac.uk/publications.html (find your way to ‘working papers’ on the website)
  • Jan de Vries, The Industrious Revolution. Consumer Behavior and the Household Economy, 1650 to the Present (Cambridge, 2008).