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date: 20 September 2019

(p. v) Acknowledgements

(p. v) Acknowledgements

Looking back now at my notes on the initial conception of this volume, I am not sure whether to be touched more by its ambition or by the intellectual generosity and collaborative spirit of the many contributors who helped make it a reality. We all too rarely bring together scholars working on different eras, continents and topics. Of the thirty-six chapters initially planned, thirty-four saw the light of day. One chapter on contemporary spaces fell victim to the demands of higher education politics which became (almost) all-consuming in 2010. The chapter on elderly consumers yet awaits its historian. The aim of this volume was to be thematic and, we hope, refreshing. It is not meant to be a Cook's tour of the entire world. Inevitably, the regional and thematic focus reflects the state of scholarship. Most research on consumption is still conducted in North America, the United Kingdom, and Continental Europe, although this is changing fast. As this volume shows, this does not, however, mean it has to result in a provincial outlook. This book looks to Africa, the Atlantic world, and to Asia as well as to Britain, the Netherlands, and the United States of America, which used to be treated as the consumer society par excellence. As handbooks in history go, this one also suggests some bridges with neighbouring disciplines, with chapters on technologies and practices, status and identity, well-being and everyday life. Between 2002 and 2007 I was fortunate to direct the ‘Cultures of Consumption research programme’, co-funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The programme planted the seeds for several of the ideas and intellectual friendships that came to fruition in these pages. In addition to my own college, I must also thank the European University Institute, Florence, for awarding me a Fernand Braudel Senior Fellowship which gave me time to get this project rolling. As always, the editors and production team at Oxford University Press have provided just the right touch of professional support.

Frank Trentmann

Birkbeck College, University of London

February 2012 (p. vi)