Journal Article

Tea, Coffee or Printed Cotton? Farm Households' Consumption of Goods in Northern Sweden, 1760–1820

Publication

Abstract

This article explores the landowning farm households’ consumption of foreign and manufactured goods in the hinterland of northern Sweden in 1770 to 1820. A set of probate inventories shows that the farmers in this particular area – a remote but central transit area for goods between the Norwegian coast and southern Sweden – were part of the general historiography of consumption. However, the findings of tea and coffee utensils, porcelain, printed cotton, silk fabrics and worsted fabrics show that their consumer behaviour – defined as ‘semi-industrious’ – was shaped by the area’s characteristics. The farmers increased their market participation and consumption of goods without breaking their existing consumption culture. They simply acquired more of the same – worsted fabrics for clothing and accessories in printed cotton and silk fabrics. The pattern of consumption is explained by the area’s firm population structure, strong class barriers and practical aspects such as poor housing. The manufactured fabrics responded to many purposes in the farmers’ day-to-day lives. The worsted fabrics were durable, warm and exclusive and the accessories fashionable. Compared with tea and coffee utensils, porcelain, clothing was a versatile belonging that did not need a home to be shown.

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Details

  • Type:
    Journal Article (peer reviewed)
  • Journal:
    History of Retailing and Consumption.
  • Published:
    2021
  • Language:
    English

About the Author

Marie Tengroth Ulväng

Marie Ulväng is Senior Lecturer in Fashion Studies, Stockholm University. She has experience working with collections and exhibitions at museums and has practical training in sewing and pattern design, from Stockholms Tillskärarakademi, among othe... Read more

Reference

Tengroth Ulväng, M. (2021). Tea, Coffee or Printed Cotton? Farm Households' Consumption of Goods in Northern Sweden, 1760–1820. History of Retailing and Consumption. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/2373518X.2021.1921445 [Accessed 13 Jun. 2021].