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    A world of goods? Europe, empire and consumer goods in England, c.1670-1820

    Stobart, Jon ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9771-4741 (2023) A world of goods? Europe, empire and consumer goods in England, c.1670-1820. Social History, 48 (3). pp. 295-315. ISSN 0307-1022

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    Eighteenth-century consumption is often characterised in terms of an expanding world of goods, one that reflected an increasingly complex web of global trading links and cultural associations. Some have seen a growing role for empire in shaping the provision of goods and the consciousness of consumers, especially in terms of groceries and textiles; others have argued that Europe, especially Italy and France, was predominant in the minds of retailers and their customers. In this article, I build on these studies by exploring the placenames with which a wide range of groceries and textiles were labelled in stock lists, newspaper advertisements and receipted bills. My concern is to examine the varied meanings that these placenames carried for retailers and consumers: sometimes indicating provenance, but often overlaying this with messages about the material qualities of the products. Rather than mapping actual patterns of supply, therefore, the analysis opens up the mental geographies that helped shopkeepers and consumers to comprehend the world of goods available to them. In doing so, it provides important insights into England’s changing position in the eighteenth-century world.

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