Western Europe (including Scandinavia)

Authored by: Ilja Van Damme

The Routledge Companion to the History of Retailing

Print publication date:  November  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138675087
eBook ISBN: 9781315560854
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter provides a broad chronological overview to explain how shopping unfolded and developed against an emerging urban Europe between circa 1000 A.D. and today. Its geographical focus is on Western Europe as a whole, trying to flesh out generic evolutions and trends, rather than singular variations and differences that have affected this world region as a whole. What follows is a straightforward chronological account of the European entanglement between shopping and urbanism. It begins by questioning why certain European regions and places had more elaborate and multidimensional retail landscapes than others, and how consumption and shopping need to be interpreted in the medieval period. It then looks at the centrality of shopping for emerging urban lifestyles from the renaissance period to the nineteenth century. Finally, it is questioned to what extent shopping practices altered during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, what was driving such changes and how these evolutions will affect our retail futures.

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