Home and family

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter gives an overview of the significant aspects of the relationship between shopping and the family. It considers the boundaries between the domestic and the commercial by exploring shopping activities that took place inside and outside the home, and asks how the experience of family and domestic life shaped consumption habits. Jane Whittle and Elizabeth Griffiths take a broad definition of shopping as ‘the acquisition of goods and services’ and how these are assimilated into the home (2012: 2). In many ways, the term ‘acquisition’ is more appropriate than ‘shopping’ to describe the processes by which households were furnished and stocked with items essential for day-to-day life in early modern Europe. Household management required a balance between producing goods within the home, and buying those which could not be produced. Surviving sources do not always detail the process through which goods were acquired but practices of shopping are evident in some account books and correspondence. Material culture sources also offer an insight on shopping activities. This chapter will begin by considering the interaction of shopping and the family in the physical space of the family home. Particularly in urban centres, shops and family homes were often part of the same buildings. The boundaries between the domestic and the commercial were often porous and the coexistence of two environments in the same spaces led to a complex ‘household-family’ type that characterized many homes in this period. It will then explore common practices of buying for the household and who engaged in the pursuit of shopping and acquiring items. It will finish by considering how family life-cycle events such as births, marriages and deaths impacted on shopping and consumption in the household.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Cultural History of Shopping in the Early Modern Age
EditorsJon Stobart, Tim Reinke-Williams
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing Company
ISBN (Electronic)9781350278509, 9781350278493
ISBN (Print)9781350027060, 9781350026988
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2022

Publication series

NameCultural Histories
PublisherBloomsbury Academic


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