State form, social order and the social sciences: urban space and politico-economic systems 1760–1850

Article


Firth, Ann. 2003. "State form, social order and the social sciences: urban space and politico-economic systems 1760–1850." Journal of Historical Sociology. 16 (1), pp. 54-79. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.0952-1909.2003.00221.x
Article Title

State form, social order and the social sciences: urban space and politico-economic systems 1760–1850

ERA Journal ID10879
Article CategoryArticle
Authors
AuthorFirth, Ann
Journal TitleJournal of Historical Sociology
Journal Citation16 (1), pp. 54-79
Number of Pages26
Year2003
ISSN0952-1909
1467-6443
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1046/j.0952-1909.2003.00221.x
Web Address (URL)http://www.wiley.com/bw/journal.asp?ref=0952-1909
Abstract

In The Pristine Culture of Capitalism, Ellen Wood argues that the English urban landscape is characterised by lack of elegance, absence of charm and neglect of public services. She traces the origins of this impoverishment to the eradication of pre-industrial capitalist urban culture in the eighteenth century. The paper investigates the claim that English urban culture underwent a significant transformation in the later eighteenth and early nineteenth century. A concern with the public magnificence of London as a means of representing the wealth and power of England
is characteristic of eighteenth century treatise on urban improvement. The most influential of which, John Gwynn’s London and Westminster Improved, published in 1766, draws upon the spatial linkage of economy, government and power typical of mercantilist thought. The paper argues that as the principles and practices of mercantilism were displaced by the spread of industrial capitalism and the liberal state, a concern with grandeur, elegance and embellishment in urban form was subordinated to the provision of the physical and social infrastructure necessary for the reproduction of labour

Keywordsmercantilism; capitalism; taxation; commerce; working class; industrial revolution
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020440603. Economic geography
430304. British history
440703. Economic development policy
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Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Southern Queensland
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