Consumerism in the Long 18th Century 1688-1820

Ref: C2224651

The 'long eighteenth century' was a time of rising consumerism & the acquisition of clothing & accessories was one of the key areas in which consumer demand changed. We will examine this phenomenon, particularly in a local context. Topics that will be covered during the course include an overview of source materials, their uses & limitations; urban development & the rise of leisure facilities; the culture of 'politeness'; the types of fashion & fabrics available; how & where goods were purchased; how fashion was disseminated; conspicuous consumption. Information will be sought from both primary & secondary sources &, wherever possible, examples relating to Suffolk will be used.

Course aim

This course aims to provide an introduction to consumer behaviour in Suffolk during the 'long eighteenth century', particularly in relation to the acquisition of clothing & accessories.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is open to all with an interest in the subject matter. No qualifications are required.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • List the key sources available for researching this topic.
  • Explain the uses & limitations of these sources.
  • Discuss how fashion was disseminated during the 'long eighteenth century'.
  • Describe how findings on local consumer behaviour fit within the wider context of the historical debate.
  • Explain how the skills learned during the course could be used for the purpose of independent research.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • Reading lists will be provided every week. It will be up to each individual student as to how much reading around the subject matter they undertake.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here

Download full course outline

Consumerism in the Long 18th Century 1688-1820 Course Outline

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This course has been cancelled.


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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