Carl Vasquez: ‘Emporia of the pre-eminent tradesmen’, coloured chalk lithograph, c. 1835

Buy & trade

Consumption is always embedded in social and cultural contexts.  The consumer society is a relatively new phenomenon of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. When a person buys something, the social environment, advertisements and product images, and – last but not least – disposable income always play a role. In a society based on class the opportunities for consumption were always dependent on a person’s social status. Luxury laws laid down which sections of the population were allowed to possess which goods.

Relevant chapters