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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.

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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)


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