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Title: Trained to consume : dress and female consumer in England, 1720-1820
Author: Dyer, Serena
ISNI:       0000 0004 6348 6431
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
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The impact of burgeoning consumerism and a new ‘world of goods’ has been well established in scholarly research on eighteenth-century England. In spite of this, we still now surprisingly little about the consumer. This thesis seeks to recover the figure of the consumer and establish its position as a key economic and social player on both the domestic and international stage. It argues for a significant shift in conceptual and practical attitudes to the consumer over the course of the eighteenth century. The consumer became a positive and productive economic force, and increasing emphasis was placed on training and cultivating this figure throughout a person’s lifecycle. This thesis focuses on the female consumer of dress. Women of the elite and middling sort were often the agents through which concerns about luxury and commercial corruption were raised. They also regularly engaged in the production of the items they consumed, bringing into question the artificial division placed between production and consumption in scholarly work. In order to tackle the nuanced character of the female consumer of dress, this thesis adopts an interdisciplinary approach, combining traditional archival research with an examination of contemporary literary, visual, and material culture. This approach paints a picture of a skilled and knowledgeable consumer, whose economic and material literacy was trained from childhood, and maintained throughout the lifecycle.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council ; British Federation of Women Graduates
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HF Commerce