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Drinking Matters

In this podcast series Dr Beat Kümin offers the first comparative survey of early modern public houses and their unique contribution to European culture. Public houses emerge as communication spaces in a state of continuous renegotiation. As facilitators of infinite forms of human exchange, they supported rulers as easily as rebels. 'Innovative' principles like consumer choice did not need to be invented by the modern restaurant, they characterized the trade from its medieval origins. Local cultural life depended on inns just as much as the early modern communication revolution. Within a communal infrastructure featuring town halls, market squares and parish churches, public houses became the principal social sites in preindustrial Europe.

Contemporary views and reviews

10:25, Thu 24 Apr 2008

What were the contemporary views of public houses and the social good, or ill, that they represented? How did establishments relate to the other institutions common to community life in the early modern period?

(MP3 format, 27 MB)


Communication, subversion and stability.

10:23, Thu 24 Apr 2008

Public houses were obvious centres of communication within communities, but what forms did this interaction take and were they a subversive or stabilising influence?

(MP3 format, 18 MB)


Economic interests and the provision of services

10:21, Thu 24 Apr 2008

Public houses represented major economic assets and were significant employers. They also reflected local cuisines and tastes whilst often innovating in the provision of services to clients.

(MP3 format, 20 MB)


Agents and interests

15:23, Mon 10 Mar 2008

Who owned and ran drinking establishments in the early modern period and who were the customers?

(MP3 format, 19 MB)


Typology and Topography

15:04, Mon 10 Mar 2008

Defining the styles of drinking establishment and how they fitted into communities.

(MP3 format, 25 MB)


Drinking Matters - introduction

09:57, Fri 15 Feb 2008

Introducing this series on drinking culture in early modern Central Europe.

(MP3 format, 16 MB)



Gottfried Locher, ‘Swiss Peasants in the Lordship of Murten’, coloured engraving (c. 1774, © Kunstmuseum / Museum of Fine Arts, Bern, Inv. Nr. S 1341).