Frank Trentmann is professor of history at Birkbeck College, University of London. From 2002 to 2007, he was director of the £5 million Cultures of Consumption research program, cofunded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). He is working on a book for Penguin, The Consuming Passion: How Things Came to Seduce, Enrich, and Define Our Lives, from the Seventeenth Century to the Twenty‐First. This article is one of a pair seeking to facilitate greater exchange between history and the social sciences. Its twin—“Crossing Divides: Globalization and Consumption in History” (forthcoming in the Handbook of Globalization Studies, ed. Bryan Turner)—shows what social scientists (and contemporary historians) might learn from earlier histories. The piece here follows the flow in the other direction. Many thanks to the ESRC for grant number RES‐052‐27‐002 and, for their comments, to Heather Chappells, Steve Pincus, Elizabeth Shove, and the editor and the reviewer
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