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    Material histories of the world: scales and dynamics

    Trentmann, Frank (2017) Material histories of the world: scales and dynamics. In: Arnold, John H. and Hilton, M. and Rueger, Jan (eds.) History after Hobsbawm: Writing the Past for the Twenty-First Century. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198768784.

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    The modern world has involved an unprecedented ballooning of stuff. How can historians make sense of this massive surge? This chapter offers some conceptual and methodological tools and suggestions. Instead of opting for either micro or macro histories, it argues that we need to move between these scales to capture, analyse, and explain the forces that drive greater consumption. The chapter links locally situated material culture with the aggregate global analysis of material flows. It discusses the influence of empire and political economy on taste, norms, and conventions and reflects on the dynamics of demand in contemporary societies by showing how everyday practices, energy systems, and networked infrastructures are interdependent and need to be studied together. It challenges a neat separation between demand and supply. It complements earlier chapters on ‘long’ and ‘deep history’ and the Anthropocene by calling on historians to straddle different spatial scales of the material world.


    Item Type: Book Section
    Additional Information: Reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): consumption, consumer culture, energy, everyday life, infrastructures, material culture, material flows, materiality, practices
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2017 12:19
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:36


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