Cotton textiles and the industrial revolution in a global context
Past and present : a journal of historical studies, 2022, Vol. 255, No. 1, pp. 87-139
RIELLO, Giorgio, Cotton textiles and the industrial revolution in a global context, Past and present : a journal of historical studies, 2022, Vol. 255, No. 1, pp. 87-139 - https://hdl.handle.net/1814/75863
Retrieved from Cadmus, EUI Research Repository
In recent decades, economic historians have revisited the Industrial Revolution in a global context. Their interpretations rely mostly on comparative methods. This article shows instead that there is a profound and significant relationship between industrialization and global exchange, and that consumption of cotton textiles was central to such a relationship. Yet, historians should not consider global trade in the context of separate world regions. The history of cotton textiles reveals the extent to which the worldwide integration of different spaces of commerce and consumption, most especially those of the Atlantic and the Indian oceans, brought advantages to European traders and manufacturers. Taking this view, the article argues that the demand and consumption of textiles were important in determining the scale as well as the shape and specialisms of European textile production. This was not only the demand generated by European consumers — as supported by much of the European ‘consumer revolution’ literature — but also the demand of a wider group of users in the Atlantic region. The reshaping of trade and consumption in turn had important consequences for the production of cotton textiles both in India and in Europe.
Published online: 20 November 2021
Cadmus permanent link: https://hdl.handle.net/1814/75863
Full-text via DOI: 10.1093/pastj/gtab016
ISSN: 0031-2746; 1477-464X
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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