By Clare Haru Crowston
Credit economies constituted "economies of regard" during which popularity trusted embodied performances of credibility. Crowston explores the function of stylish appearances and sexual hope in leveraging credits and reconstructs women's full of life participation in its grey markets. The scandalous courting among Queen Marie Antoinette and type service provider Rose Bertin epitomizes the vertical loyalties and deep social divides of the credits regime and its more and more pressing political stakes.
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Additional resources for Credit, Fashion, Sex: Economies of Regard in Old Regime France
As commentary from bemused observers attested, the marchandes de modes led the way in donning new fashions that helped break down the traditional visual cultures of social taxonomy. Any historian familiar with the world of work would be unsurprised to learn that, just like nobles, merchants and artisans had to engage in the politics of personal power in a society still dominated by patronage relations. Whether at a court or in a guild, in a workshop or a salon, who you knew, the strength of your personal connections, the debts and favors you could call in, and your individual skill at mastering the dynamics of reputation and influence were all Introduction From Credit, Fashion, Sex by Crowston, Clare Haru.
She further argues that the genres of the novel and political economy served to naturalize and legitimate money by securely bifurcating signification into “fact” and “fiction,” thereby enabling the “truth claim” of currency to be more easily accepted. Ian Baucom argues in a similar spirit that the transformation of human bodies into abstract commodities in the transatlantic slave trade may be seen as the epitome of the abstraction of value operated by modern capitalism. 26 I depart from these literary historians, however, in considering eighteenth-century actors not as novices needing to learn about credit from novels and other literary genres but as experts long familiar with the wheeling and dealing of credit.
Apart from the difference in cultural values, the difference in the scale of money involved is astounding. Spectacular successes aside, many merchants and almost all artisans operated modest businesses, dutifully keeping track of every sol and denier. By contrast, their clients operated in a world of ostentatious luxury consumption involving lavish expenditure secured through credit guaranteed by landed estates, annuities, royal pensions, and offices. This enormous discrepancy in the scale of credit transactions was one indicator of the extreme inequality between merchant and client; it was both by- product and bulwark of the corresponding gulf in social status between the two parties.
Credit, Fashion, Sex: Economies of Regard in Old Regime France by Clare Haru Crowston