Frank Trentmann

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Consumption

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199561216
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History


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This volume follows several of the most exciting recent pathways into consumption and its history, re-examines old debates, and looks ahead to questions for future research. It looks at several rich traditions of material culture that existed prior to modernity with which consumer society is often conflated. The book examines the public as well as private face of consumption, in relation to public life and social order as well as the organization of households and social groups. It also discusses the movement of goods between societies, along with questions of global exchange and diffusion in the early modern world. The book then explores luxury and necessity, the luxury wars, patterns of possessions and diet in town and country, changes in the standard of living, the life cycle of consumption from the desire to consume in the future (saving), the use of energy to be comfortable and run things, and the politics of consumption. Finally, it considers the relationship between consumers and civil society, status, family life, generational identities, fashion, and well-being.

Keywords: consumption; material culture; social order; public life; well-being; social groups; luxury; use of energy; civil society

Article.  10070 words. 

Subjects: History

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