Shopping and the Senses: Retail, Browsing and Consumption in Eighteenth-Century England

Serena Dyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Interest in the senses has blossomed over the last decade, leading to numerous explorations of touch, smell, sound, taste and sight throughout history. Increasingly, historians are considering how this sensory methodology can enrich other fields of historical study. This article explores the potential for sensory history to open new avenues of thought in the field of urban consumption history. Focusing on the period of the so called ‘consumer revolution’, this article promotes a reassessment of shopping in 18th‐century English towns. This intersection of consumption history and sensory history encourages us to rethink numerous aspects of the process of shopping in the 18th century, including browsing, gender, urban space and agency. This article begins by assessing the current state of scholarship in these two branches of historical enquiry, before considering how their juncture impacts research moving forward.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)694-703
JournalHistory Compass
Issue number9
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Sept 2014
Externally publishedYes


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