Not Signed-In
Which clippings match 'Commercialisation' keyword pg.2 of 2
26 NOVEMBER 2009

Big Hair: A Wig History of Consumption in Eighteenth-Century France

"Historians of consumption have generally followed social theorists in emphasizing two different aspects of modernity. While social scientists emphasize long term processes of 'modernization,' such as urbanization and industrialization, cultural historians and literary critics define modernity in terms of consciousness, stressing in particular the development of a reflexive self and a heightened awareness of one's present age as new and set off from the past.(4) Both understandings of modernity underpin current historical literature on eighteenth–century Western European consumption. Highlighting socioeconomic processes of commercialization, historians argue that eighteenth–century Western Europe experienced a 'consumer revolution' as men and women freed themselves from the grip of scarcity to initiate a buying spree of historic proportions. Although its geography and periodization remain highly controversial, such a revolution is commonly represented as a step toward modern consumer society.(5) At the same time, the study of consumption, especially French consumption, has taken a cultural turn, opening new doors between the Enlightenment and late modernity. (6) Daniel Roche, whose work has defined the field, argues that the birth of consumption was an integral part of a larger cultural change in which the traditional values of a stationary Christian economy gradually gave way to the egalitarianism and individualism of modern commodity culture. For Roche, the story is principally one of emancipation: 'It is important to recognize that . . . commodities did not necessarily foster alienation; in fact, they generally meant liberation.'(7) The diffusion of fashion led to 'a new state of mind, more individualistic, more hedonistic, in any case more egalitarian and more free.'(8) Less optimistic than Roche but equally intent on establishing a connection between Enlightenment consumption and modernity, Jennifer Jones contends that the late–eighteenth–century discourse on fashion helped to produce modern, essentialized definitions of gender. As social differentiation faded from fashion commentary, gender differentiation took its place.(9)"

(Michael Kwass, p.633, The American Historical Review, 111.3)

Fig.1 FRONTISPIECE: Wigs. Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonnée des sciences, des arts et des métiers. Recueil de planches, sur les sciences, les arts libéraux, et les arts méchaniques, avec leur explication, 11 vols. (Paris, 1762–1772), s.v. "Perruquier."



changecollaborationcommercialisationconsciousness • consumer revolution • consumer societyconsumerismconsumptioncostume design • cultural historian • Daniel Roche • egalitarianism • emancipationEuropean EnlightenmentfashionFrancegender differentiationgeographyhairhedonismhistoryindividualismindustrialisation • Jennifer Jones • late modernityliterary criticmodernisationmodernityperiodisation • reflexive self • social change • social constructionist • social differentiationsocietysocio-economictraditiontransformationurbanisation • Western Europe • wig


Simon Perkins
18 MAY 2009

Mike Neary: the idea of the university is up for grabs

"As the growing body of literature testifies, the role, function and nature of the university are subject to increasingly intensive debate as higher education undergoes profound transformations at the national and international level. There is no longer any consensus about the 'idea' or the 'uses' of the university (Newman 1873; Kerr 1963), if there ever was. Universities are being 'realised and reshaped' (Barnett 2000; 2005), 'rethought' (Rowland 2007) and 'redefined' (Scott 1998). While some regard these transformations positively, others feel that these changes undermine the academic mission of the university, leading to 'crisis' (Scott 1984), 'deprofessionalisation' (Nelson and Watt 2003), 'corporatisation' and 'commercialisation' (Bok 2003; Slaughter and Leslie 1997; Callinicos 2007), 'ruination' (Readings 1996) and even the 'death' of the university itself (Evans 2004).

A key issue of concern for those who feel the academic mission of the university is being undermined is the way in which the student experience has been consumerised (Boden and Epstein 2006). The concept of student as consumer is based on a market led model of corporate governance, within which risky activity is motivated by profit driven imperatives. In this paper I argue for a different model of risk, one which is based on taking progressive risks with the curriculum in order to give students more responsibility for their learning, and – in so doing – provide much richer learning environments. I describe this model not as student as consumer but student as producer (Neary and Winn 2009). This model may be at odds with the market driven paradigm, which sees universities as providing a service for students, but it has the potential, I argue, to provide the basis of a framework for teaching and learning in higher education which promotes social responsibility as the key organising function of the university, making it better able to deal with the social emergencies that underpin its own crisis of identity."
(Professor Mike Neary, Centre for Learning & Teaching – Conference 2008, University of Brighton)


Simon Perkins

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