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Provincializing Global HistoryMoney, Ideas, and Things in the Languedoc, 1680-1830$
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James Livesey

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780300237160

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300237160.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Provincializing Global History

James Livesey

Yale University Press

This chapter talks about the elements of a new “thin” culture that was created in the European provinces in the eighteenth century. The capacity to manage change depended on the capacity for innovation, for reorientation to new values and ideas. It focuses on innovation particularly on the way new ideas created new kinds of cultural capacity. Global transformation at the beginning of the late eighteenth century was breath-taking in its scope. Growth rates in countries around the Atlantic began to rise and compound themselves annually as prices of a set of basic commodities became integrated across and between continents. Growth in trade networks was paralleled by the extension of public credit networks that stretched out to old empires and newly independent ex-colonies alike, imposing new disciplines and transforming politics. As new technologies lowered transport costs, they made possible exchanges on a new scale and intensity. The chapter also provides evidence that the diffusion of a profusion of manufactured objects and new experiences altered psychological character and the relationship of the species to the rest of nature. Commercial society promised, or threatened, to alter everything, even the foundations of human personality.

Keywords:   thin culture, innovation, global transformation, growth rate, trade network, ex-colonies, commercial society

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