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"Examining Historical consumption: Is there a distinct historic geographic approach?"
Examining Historical consumption: Is there a distinct historic geographic approach?
Joel Chibota
In approaching the topic of consumption, it is evident that many academic writers from a wide background of disciplines including historians, geographers and sociologists have contributed to the academic literature on late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century consumption. This essay will examine the literature surrounding early nineteenth century consumption, in order to ascertain what have been the significant contributions to consumption by geographers in comparison to the boarder context of consumption. It will argue that although geographers have brought new ideas and areas of research into the field of consumption, there has been an undue emphasis on department stores as 'cathedrals of consumption' (Crossick and Jaumain, 1999) to the point where there has been little research on other consumption spaces. Specifically this essay will provide insight into what has been addressed within the area of the department store and consumption, then move on to other spaces such as shops and consumer co-operatives that have been studied to a lesser degree, before providing new avenues of possible research for historical geographers to pursue in the field of consumption.

What contributions have been made in the literature?

- Department stores

In examining the literature on consumption, the department store plays a prominent role; there has been a vast array of literature focused around the notion that department stores of the nineteenth century were perhaps responsible for changing the face of consumption. This notion has been addressed by historical geographers and their writing has developed around the idea that these spaces, according to Coles (1999:72), 'were a new and highly innovative form of retail organisation'. Geographers instantly followed this lead 'stress the role of the department store in modernising retailing and introducing new methods' (Crossick and Jaumain, 1999:1). In doing so, geographers such as Domosh (1996) have chosen to document the techniques that operated in...

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"Examining Historical consumption: Is there a distinct historic geographic approach?." Sep 24, 2018
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