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Across The Atlantic: Chocolate Consumption, Imperial Political Economies and the Making Of A Spanish Imaginary (1700-1800)

Dates:
  • Tue 19 Apr 2011 10.00 - 12.00
  Add to Calendar 2011-04-19 10:00 2011-04-19 12:00 Europe/Paris Across The Atlantic: Chocolate Consumption, Imperial Political Economies and the Making Of A Spanish Imaginary (1700-1800)

Through a variegated corpus of sources the present study explores how production, distribution, consumption and ideological/religious/scientific constructions all interacted to promote and sustain the appropriation of chocolate in Spanish culture. On the other hand, it tests chocolate’s role in promoting both modernization, with respect to the secularization of forms of consumption and their democratization, and national economic growth.
The study inserts itself in the context of a history that puts the Atlantic at the center of the globalization process, thus moving beyond traditional ideas about Europe’s cultural colonization of America; on the contrary, it starts from the assumption that considering the repercussions of colonization in the mother countries could contribute much to our understanding of important issues in the European historiographical debate. Focusing on the case study of cocoa/chocolate -a semi-luxury good closely tied to the Spanish cultural context, as well as one of the most important goods in Atlantic trade-, the thesis analyzed several issues connected to the evolution of sumptuary patterns of consumption and to the diffusion and appropriation of exotic goods in Europe.
By not taking the assimilation of such exotic products into our everyday life and culture for granted, it has been emphasized the importance of the political economy of consumption, as well as how this intertwined with the competition among empires and the major changes that took place in European societies. Moreover, by focusing on interactions, juxtapositions and networks among different actors and factors, the text shows how this process (precisely because of its association with a place outside Europe, and therefore outside of European moral norms) had unexpected economic, social and cultural effects.
The study offers insight into the construction of several national stereotypes and an imagination linked to the idea of Spanishness, both inside and outside Spain, by highlighting the contrast between the monolithic image of the product (and therefore of Spain) abroad contrasted the variety of meanings the product held for different consumers within Spanish society. By focusing on the luxury debate, society (with all its habits and rituals) and levels of consumption, it explores the degree of fluidity of Spanish society, as well as if the transgression implicit in the consumption of such products ended up facilitating any changes in forms of sociability and social hierarchies.

Cappella, Villa Schifanoia - SCHIFANOIA DD/MM/YYYY
  Cappella, Villa Schifanoia - SCHIFANOIA

Through a variegated corpus of sources the present study explores how production, distribution, consumption and ideological/religious/scientific constructions all interacted to promote and sustain the appropriation of chocolate in Spanish culture. On the other hand, it tests chocolate’s role in promoting both modernization, with respect to the secularization of forms of consumption and their democratization, and national economic growth.
The study inserts itself in the context of a history that puts the Atlantic at the center of the globalization process, thus moving beyond traditional ideas about Europe’s cultural colonization of America; on the contrary, it starts from the assumption that considering the repercussions of colonization in the mother countries could contribute much to our understanding of important issues in the European historiographical debate. Focusing on the case study of cocoa/chocolate -a semi-luxury good closely tied to the Spanish cultural context, as well as one of the most important goods in Atlantic trade-, the thesis analyzed several issues connected to the evolution of sumptuary patterns of consumption and to the diffusion and appropriation of exotic goods in Europe.
By not taking the assimilation of such exotic products into our everyday life and culture for granted, it has been emphasized the importance of the political economy of consumption, as well as how this intertwined with the competition among empires and the major changes that took place in European societies. Moreover, by focusing on interactions, juxtapositions and networks among different actors and factors, the text shows how this process (precisely because of its association with a place outside Europe, and therefore outside of European moral norms) had unexpected economic, social and cultural effects.
The study offers insight into the construction of several national stereotypes and an imagination linked to the idea of Spanishness, both inside and outside Spain, by highlighting the contrast between the monolithic image of the product (and therefore of Spain) abroad contrasted the variety of meanings the product held for different consumers within Spanish society. By focusing on the luxury debate, society (with all its habits and rituals) and levels of consumption, it explores the degree of fluidity of Spanish society, as well as if the transgression implicit in the consumption of such products ended up facilitating any changes in forms of sociability and social hierarchies.


Location:
Cappella, Villa Schifanoia - SCHIFANOIA

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Thesis defence

Supervisor:
Prof. Bartolomé Yun Casalilla (EUI and Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Sevilla)

Examiner:
Prof. Giovanni Levi (Università Caʼ Foscari, Venezia)
Prof. Luca Molà (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)
Prof. William Clarence Smith (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London)

Defendant:
Irene Fattacciu (Vasco da Gama Fellow)
 

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