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    Networks of supply and elite consumers in Britain and Germany, c.1750-1830

    Stobart, Jon ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9771-4741 and Overkamp, Anne Sophie (2022) Networks of supply and elite consumers in Britain and Germany, c.1750-1830. Economic History Yearbook / Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte. ISSN 0075-2800 (In Press)

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    Abstract

    This comparative study explores the consumption practices and systems of supply of elite families in Britain and Germany from the middle of the eighteenth and into the early nineteenth century. The paper focuses on three key elements of elite consumption—silverware, livery, and wine — to tease out important aspects of the elite’s use of consumer goods as a means of self-expression and for the construction of status. The study draws out important differences as well as similarities between British and German retail systems and in doing so further questions the notion of a single model of retail development: Germany was not a stage behind Britain on a linear development trajectory; rather, it was characterised by a dispersed yet integrated system of retail centres. The complex interplay of local, regional and national systems of supply highlighted in this study has implications far beyond these elite families and invites a reassessment of the prevalent notions of consumption history.

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