The aim of this session is to engage in a very specific secondary market outlet – the auction – and to unravel its importance for household strategies from the 17th to the 20th centuries. Moving beyond the quick observations of path-dependency and continuity, speakers will especially be invited to reflect upon the changing and varied roles played by auctions.
Deadline: 31 Mar 2022
In the past decades, research into secondary markets has mushroomed as historians discovered the myriad of alternative commercial circuits and uses of goods that oiled the wheels of commerce in past centuries. While reselling and recycling practices long sat in the shadows of alleged ‘retail revolutions’, historians now agree on the key role played by ‘old goods’ in the business of everyday life. Next to old clothes sellers, for instance, shopkeepers fully engaged in the buying and selling of used things, and strikingly such practices are recorded across time and place, as if the secondary markets are part and parcel of an “histoire immobile”, albeit a crucial one.
The aim of this session is to engage in one very specific secondary market outlet – the auction –and to unravel its importance for household strategies from the 17th to the 20th centuries. Auctions of household belongings were often held when one of the spouses had died, allowing or necessitating the divestment of goods, but for centuries these public sales were also key scenes for playing out household strategies of acquisition. Moving beyond the quick observations of path-dependency and continuity, speakers will especially be invited to reflect upon the changing and varied roles played by auctions:
– What was the differential and/or changing social significance of auctions as commercial circuits and social venues? How did this vary over time, between different social groups or according to location? What was the role of gender?
– Which motives lay behind buying and selling at auctions: did different social groups and auctioneers appropriate the auctions in different ways, and what role do auctioneers play in mediating these processes?
– How did auctions respond to the fundamental transitions of secondary markets from the 17th to the 20th centuries? To what extent are these changes and responses place or sector-specific?
The session organisers welcome papers from all geographical regions and with a very wide chronological perspective. Both research papers based on fresh empirical research and general or theory-driven essays, fostering the debate on the significance of auctions will be scheduled.
Presentations should be approximately twenty minutes in length. Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words to Anne Sophie Overkamp (email@example.com) by March 31, 2022. Submissions should also include: author name, institutional affiliation, e-mail and mailing address as well as a short bio. Please do also get in touch with any questions.