‘Advanced’ agriculture must be advanced relative to something and by some criteria. There is no consensus on what those criteria are, though certainly high yields per acre, and perhaps per labor hour, would be likely choices. Meanwhile, attempts to change or remove supposedly ‘backward’ farmers have recurred over the last few centuries, sometimes causing catastrophes. This article distinguishes between ‘advanced organic agriculture’ which was commercialized, often specialized, intensive in its use of labor and/or capital, and relatively high-yielding per acre but was not a big user of machinery or products of modern chemical industries and ‘energy-intensive agriculture’ which appeared in a few places in the 1800s, but reached most of the world only after 1945.
Peter M. Jones
The agricultural history of the Ancien Régime is inseparable from the socio-economic history of France between 1660 and 1789 if only for the reason that husbandry remained the principal wealth-generating activity and by far the largest sector of the economy. Even after 1789 this situation would not alter radically. Notwithstanding the collapse of Bourbon absolutism, the broad thrust of change in the countryside proceeded without major interruption. The agrarian history of western Europe in the early modern period provides scant evidence of climactic moments, and researchers are in general agreement that its rhythms can only be discerned over a time span of many decades. In France specifically there were no agricultural breakthroughs in the eighteenth century—whether in land-use, tenurial practice, agronomic technique, or institutional reform.
John A. Mears
When striving to delineate the contours of the human experience, world historians must highlight the major turning points in the existence of our species. Among the momentous watersheds through which human beings have passed since their appearance over 100,000 years ago, none has been more profound in its consequences than the shift from hunting and gathering to agriculture, a form of subsistence usually defined as different combinations of systematic crop cultivation and livestock raising. This article explains agricultural origins, recurring agricultural patterns in the post-classic world, and the industrialization of modern agriculture.
Archaeology provides an interdisciplinary approach to the study of slavery that combines analyses of archaeological findings with careful readings of traditional primary sources of historiography. Excavations of sites where enslaved people once lived and worked yield residue of things produced, consumed, and discarded by the former occupants of these sites. This article discusses plantation spatial organization and the built environment of slavery; slave consumption, production, and exchange; religious expressions; slave resistance; and future directions in the archaeology of slavery.
This article reviews the transfer of goods and services between the continents bordering the Atlantic Ocean. It shows that the demands of long-distance trade, particularly but not solely across the Atlantic, encouraged innovation in technologies and methods, transformed commercial institutions, and required traders to develop novel ways of managing their businesses. After regaining independence from Spain in 1640, Portugal created a transatlantic trading system that was more vigorous than what had existed before 1580. The long eighteenth century witnessed a precipitate decline of France as an Atlantic commercial power and a steady rise of England. Paradoxically, France's Atlantic trading burgeoned, at least at first. While Britain and France struggled for Atlantic control, the Netherlands flourished, albeit in slightly different channels than before. The increase in the efficiency of shipping, the dematerialisation of finance, and the spread of information were substantial results of a burgeoning Atlantic trade. They also forced changes in traders' and governments' ideas about how commerce should be managed.
There would have been no Atlantic world without trade. Throughout this period, the consumption of American-produced sugar, tobacco, and coffee, as well as the use of American gold and silver for money, was common throughout Europe. At the same time, the settlement of colonial emigrants and transported slave populations continued to grow and to transform the agriculture and environment of the Americas and western Africa. By the mid-eighteenth century the characteristic trading patterns of the Atlantic world were well established. The main exports at the beginning of the period from the New World were gold and silver from the mines of Mexico and Peru, as well as sugar and tobacco grown in Brazil, the Caribbean, and the Chesapeake, together with furs and cod from Canada and forest products from New England. We should not forget that people were also traded; European traders purchased an ever-increasing number of slaves in Africa for export to the Americas. Britain emerged as the dominant trading, military, and investment force by the nineteenth century.
J. R. McNeill
One important way in which people have altered environments, and thereby altered their own ecological contexts and their own history, is through biological exchange. Biological exchange can refer to any number of things. In this article, it means above all else the long-distance transfers of crops, domesticated animals, and disease-causing microbes, or pathogens. This choice is intended to emphasize biological exchanges that carried the greatest and most direct historical significance. The article aims to explore the role of the most important biological exchanges for human history. Biological exchange was sometimes carried out intentionally and sometimes accidentally. Faster and more frequent transport and travel continue to promote biological exchange. The long-term process of biological globalization continues, and will inevitably continue. In biological history, four or five centuries is the merest flash. In the long run, strange and unforeseen things will happen.
Daniel Thomas Cook
The academic study of children as consumers took root in the 1960s and did not begin in earnest until the 1970s, when the paradigm of ‘consumer socialization’ took hold among psychologically oriented business scholars. In the 1980s, some discussion of the history of children's consumption and popular culture began to appear in edited volumes and journal articles, with full treatments of some aspects of that history coming into view in the 1990s. Even as children's consumer culture takes centre stage in contemporary media reports, political punditry, and academic scholarship, the history of children's consumption remains largely unrecognized in, or otherwise marginal to, both histories of childhood and histories of consumption. Children's consumer lives or the popular culture of childhood most often occupy a side or subsidiary position in the overall historiography of childhood as in, for instance, recent works by Steven Mintz and Hugh Cunningham. It appears that, in a time of severe economic depression, both parents and commercial actors looked to childhood and the ‘child’ as promising bearers of hope for the future.
Already in the early modern period, urban elites defined the city as a place of civilization and cultural progress in stark opposition to the brute nature and barbarism associated with the countryside. To what extent is it possible to generalize about the differences in material surroundings and daily life between city and country? Are these differences, where they exist, the result of different attitudes and behaviour with regard to consumption? These questions raise the issue of the relationship between home consumption and the degree to which households were integrated into the market, but they point also to the consumption choices and consumer preferences that can be seen in the probate inventories of material goods owned by urban and rural populations. In the contemporary imagination, crowded cities are opposed to a spacious countryside. In reality, dwelling was more complex in early modern Europe. This article compares home, possessions, and diet in city and country in Western Europe between 1600 and 1800, and considers urban and rural dress as well as food consumption in town and country.
Lewis H. Siegelbaum and Sasu Siegelbaum
The history of sport can be considered an arena in which struggles over ways of doing things have worked themselves out, sometimes to the advantage of one class but occasionally to the benefit—or detriment—of more than one class. Sport has its antitheses—amateur versus professional, competitive versus noncompetitive, the individual versus the team—each of which contains class dimensions. In this chapter, players, fans, owners, governing bodies, and the media are treated as representatives, projections, or embodiments of classes and class fractions, struggling amongst themselves and occasionally against each other. The chapter emphasizes the formative influence of Great Britain and its class structure from the Industrial Revolution onward on the emergence of specific sports, the codification of rules, leagues, and fan bases. It analyzes the complex and sometimes contradictory nature of players as workers, their representation, and the particular dynamics between class and fan affinities.
Underpinning the transformation of the Scottish countryside during the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries, and forming a vital precondition for the Improving Movement, were far-reaching changes in the structure and layout of farms, and in the nature of the farm community. When first coined as a description of the changes that swept across the Highlands and Islands over the second half of the eighteenth first half of the nineteenth century, the meaning, chronology, and distribution of the clearances were all clearly defined. ‘Clearance’ was seen as a term that best captured the sudden and socially disruptive way in which many traditional communities in the Highlands were swept aside to make way for sheep. Establishing the build-up of market responsiveness is important when we come to look at the restructuring of towns. This article, which discusses Scotland's clearances and the transformation of the Scottish countryside, focusing on the Lowlands, Southern Uplands, and Highlands and Islands, also examines the persistence of small farms, crofts and townships, and the spread of new husbandries.
Despite being embedded in the practices and discourses of daily life, comfort and convenience are not terms around which theories and studies of consumption have traditionally revolved. Over the last decade or so, the tides of intellectual fashion have begun to turn, bringing the mundane into view and highlighting previously invisible dimensions of consumer culture. In reviewing changing interpretations of comfort and convenience, this article captures some of the processes through which the contours of social life are simultaneously sustained and transformed. It also examines how interpretations of comfort and convenience come to be as they are today, and in understanding the types of consumption and demand they entail. This more substantive angle is important in that contemporary definitions of physical well-being and temporal order imply and rely upon forms of resource consumption which are unsustainable in the longer run or on a global scale. The article concludes by considering time and timing, convenience and compromise, convenience and the time–space profiles of practice, and changing patterns of consumption in relation to comfort and convenience.
Although in the course of the eighteenth century there emerged in several European countries a desire to set the economy and trade free, in the French case it took the Revolution to sweep away a whole range of restrictions which weighed upon the circulation of goods. Even so, the gradual ending of the commercial system which had underpinned the prosperity of European ports under the Ancien Régime was also, in fact primarily, the consequence of structural changes in the European economy and in the apparatus of colonial domination in America. This article does not offer a complete picture of trade under the Ancien Régime, but rather attempts to bring out the distinctive characteristics which would disappear between the end of the eighteenth century and the middle of the nineteenth with the arrival of more modern systems of exchange.
This article examines the range of national experiences of communist rule in terms of the aspiration to ‘overtake and outstrip the advanced countries economically’. It reviews the causal beliefs of the rulers, the rise and fall of their economies (or, in the case of China, its continued rise), the core institutions of communist rule and their evolution, and other outcomes. The process of overcoming a development lag so as to approach the global technological frontier has required continual institutional change and policy reform in the face of resistance from established interests. So far, China is the only country where communist rule has been able to meet these requirements, enabled by a new deal with political and economic stakeholders. The article places the ‘China Deal’ on a spectrum previously limited to the Soviet Big and Little Deals.
Consumer Activism, Consumer Regimes, and the Consumer Movement: Rethinking the History of Consumer Politics in the United States
Lawrence B. Glickman
The historiography of consumer society in the United States has matured in the last decade. As David Steigerwald noted in an influential review essay in 2006, ‘consumer interpretations of American history have come of age’, interpretations that prominently emphasize the politics of consumption. Indeed, Steigerwald made his claim about the state of the field largely on the basis of an analysis of the paradigm-shifting books of T. H. Breen on ‘how consumer politics shaped independence’ (2005) and Lizabeth Cohen on ‘the politics of mass consumption in postwar America’ (2003). This article explores and disaggregates three core elements of consumer politics in America: what it calls consumer activism, the consumer movement, and consumer regimes.
The phenomena of consumer organizing, consumer protesting, consumer activism, and consumer movements are not confined to recent decades. While many consumers have undoubtedly displayed a voracious appetite for getting ever more stuff, others have demonstrated an engaged form of citizenship eager to inject morality and politics into the marketplace. Yet for all that the study of consumption has expanded exponentially over the last three decades, it is only relatively recently that our knowledge of these movements has come anywhere close to catching up with what is known about, say, consumer psychology, consumer marketing, consumer economics, or the cultural practices of shoppers. This article examines why scholars of consumption have turned to an analysis of consumer activism, offers a broad chronology of consumer movements to show the different types of consumer politics that have emerged over the last 200 years, and looks at some of the areas to which future scholars of consumption and social movements might turn their attention.
Consumption defines the standard of living – whether food is hot or cold, whether walls are dry or damp. It is the stuff of desires and dreams. It signals superiority, but also community. It drives policy and vexes scholars. But consumption is not consummation. Its purpose recedes even as it is being realized. If insatiability is the vortex at the heart of consumption, there are also other problems. In standard economic theory, consumers rank preferences in the present, but the most significant choices arise not between two immediate substitutes (say coffee or tea), but between the present and the future. This article opens with some standard assumptions about the benefits of consumption, and competing ones about its futility. It discusses the findings of social and behavioural research on consumption and well-being, the link between happiness and wealth, relative income, habituation, materialism, history and culture, advertising, myopia, narcissism, and individualism.
David E. Nye
Anthropologists working within a functionalist tradition considered energy to be a fundamental need, along with food, water, and shelter. In 1949, Leslie White argued that systems of energy were so fundamental that societies could be classified according to how much light, heat, and power they had mastered. The society with the greatest access to energy was the most advanced. The most primitive were those that controlled nothing more than their own muscle power. By the 1980s, however, historians began to see consumers as actors whose decisions shaped which products succeeded in the market. The notion that advertisers controlled consumption collapsed after Roland Marchand's archival work revealed that agencies continually responded to changes in public taste, forced to follow trends beyond their control. Before it was possible to think of energy as something to be effortlessly consumed, complex networks of power had to be built into the very structure of cities. This article discusses energy consumption, and considers the establishment and growth of factories, as well as the use of energy in public lighting and transportation.
This article takes an unashamedly political line on Italian fascist economic policies, on the grounds that fascism without the politics is barely fascism at all. It attempts to outline what was ‘fascist’ about the running of the Italian economy during the fascist era. The concern throughout is to articulate what fascism's efforts to control the national economy tell people about the nature of fascism, rather than about the nature of Italian economic development. After the First World War, the corporations' job was, under the totalitarian regime's auspices, to bury for good counter-productive and divisive class conflict, by forcing the various human factors of production to cooperate in the national interest of maximizing economic output.
For its size, Scotland has a very diverse natural environment. Historically, there have also been major regional differences in landholding practices, industrial development, and popular and religious culture. All these produced a highly differentiated spatial demography; and this means that we always need to go below the national level if we are to fully understand Scottish population change and its implications for the people of Scotland. Scotland's first official census, in 1801, showed a national population of somewhat over 1.6 million, with figures for every civil parish. In spite of some problems with data collection, the results for most places are probably accurate for the civilian population to within a few per cent. It seems that, as in England and many other countries, opportunities for marriage were a major control over Scottish demographic change during this period. This article, which analyses Scotland's demographic history and looks at contrasting patterns of population change between 1801 and 2001, also discusses fertility, mortality, and migration in Scotland during the same period.