Taking Stock and Forging Ahead: The Past and Future of Consumption History

  • Hartmut Berghoff
  • Uwe Spiekermann
Part of the Worlds of Consumption book series (WC)


Historians have long been preoccupied with production. Until about the 1980s, the whole fabric of society seemed to reflect the different positions that individuals and groups held in the realm of production. During the past two decades, however, there has been a profound paradigm shift, and consumption has emerged as a sphere in its own right. The way people shop, eat, and spend their leisure has come to be seen not as a direct extension of their income and social status, that is, their position in the sphere of production, but as an expression of more complex cultural and social constellations. Even people with the same budget and class background consume differently. With this shift in historiographical perspective, consumption studies have metamorphosed from a niche topic into one of the most stimulating and vital areas of historical research. Since the late 1980s, interest in the history of consumption has soared in a way previously unimaginable.1


Consumer Good Medical Herb Consumer Culture Consumer Society German History 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The German Historical Institute 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hartmut Berghoff
  • Uwe Spiekermann

There are no affiliations available

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