Debates on household consumption and production in the patriotic societies in Denmark-Norway (c. 1780-1814)
Title: Debates on household consumption and production in the patriotic societies in Denmark-Norway (c. 1780-1814)
Author: HALLE, Maria
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2016
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of History and Civilization
During the eighteenth century, most families in Northwestern Europe and Colonial America bought more and different goods, such as coffee, tobacco, new types of furniture and clothes. Simultaneously, the family members changed the way they worked. In order to buy the commodities available, many of them prioritised to produce more goods for the market. The families' changing behaviour receives much attention from historians studying the changes from an economic perspective. This thesis, however, focuses on how a part of the Danish and Norwegian middle class, members of "patriotic societies," experienced and debated the economic changes (c. 1780 -1814). Patriotic societies were local voluntary organisations that wanted to improve the "welfare" of the inhabitants. They wrote many economic and moral writings in which the changing economy was discussed. The thesis points to other middle class views on the changing economy than detected in previous research. Firstly, it shows that patriotism and intellectuals' concerns about the changing economy influenced the middle class' views on commodity consumption. Secondly, the thesis shows that the members found it important to improve the consumer behaviour in Denmark-Norway. They did not only support the sumptuary laws, as previous studies centre on, they also focused on childrearing in the family. Mainly Lutheran childrearing methods influenced their suggestions on how to teach children patriotic consumerism and the roles of the mother and the father on this issue. Thirdly, the thesis reveals more positive attitudes to women’s economic behaviour than detected in European gender studies. The common misogynist view of women as unable to resist "luxury" was present mostly in the societies' philosophical texts. A systematic study of the members' economic evaluations of rural communities shows that they did not attack women's consumerism more than men's. They also praised women's commodity production and viewed it as vital for the country's progress. Lastly, the thesis focused on norms on household planning and spending. It revealed, as recent British studies also show, that the middle class valued a gender division when the household spending was decided in the family At the same time, the husband and wife should cooperate close. Moreover, the housefathers had a great interest in the women's part of the management since household consumption was closely connected to their patriotic image.
LC Subject Heading: Consumption (Economics) -- Denmark -- History -- 18th century; Consumer goods -- Denmark -- History -- 18th century; Luxuries -- Denmark -- History -- 18th century; Consumption (Economics) -- Norway -- History -- 18th century; Consumer goods -- Norway -- History -- 18th century; Luxuries -- Norway -- History -- 18th century
Defence date: 26 February 2016; Examining Board: Prof. Bartolomé Yun-Casalilla, EUI and Universidad Pablo de Olavide (supervisor); Prof. Hilde Sandvik, University of Oslo (external supervisor); Prof. Luca Molà, EUI; Prof. Pia Lundqvist, University of Gothenburg.
Type of Access: embargoedAccess