Mintz - Chapter 4 - Power
Mintz - Chapter 4 - Power 0780
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Date Created: 09/17/14
Mintz Chapter 4 POWER Emphasis on meaning 0 quotntensification consumption usually imitates the methods practiced by other people usually in a higher social or economic class o Ritual of wedding cake and it s sugar figures haven39t lost their meaning within the ceremony o Those in power are responsible for the presence and meaning to some degree of new products 0 quotExtensification innovation of a sort new meanings and uses are found as the material is passed down the social statuses o Sugar is more important for the poor than the wealthy because they need it for both caloric intake even more than social status o Those in power take charge of the availability of new products but new users are in charge of associating the meanings 0 Another type of meaning focuses on social validation of life o society teaches each generation certain meanings for certain materials or behaviors o all are historical symbols specific to each culture o no real meaning unless in a specific cultural or historical context 0 Sugar s various meanings appeared in language and literature o quotthe quality of sweetness was applied to personality pg 155 o quotsweet taking o Sugar imagery began to replace honey imagery 0 Also became part of everyday speech as well for the illiterate and lower classes 0 Imagery connects the meaning of sugar and its use in daily life and society for all economic classes 0 Meaning in imperial sphere o Different than meaning for common English person o policies influenced the availability and cost of sugar 0 sugar was essential to the English people o it meant quotthe growing strength and solidity of the empire and of the classes that dictated its policies pg 157 0 Humanity gives meaning to the objective world humans have to associate think the world different meanings for different things in order to classify see the world everything and organize the world instead of the other way around o quotwebs of signification o Humans lived by learned meanings from historythe past I Pass them on to each generation I Differ between social groups o quotassumption of a homogenous web may mask instead of reveal how meanings are generated and transmitted pg 159 I This strongly connects meaning to power Impact on the economy 0 Created a global economy 0 Influenced relationships between big cities and their coloniessatellites 0 Influenced modern capitalism in the sense that it shaped methods technical and human to produce and distribute goods 0 Changes were not coincidental or intended 0 Important to note long term trends instead of specific details o Steady decline in cost of sugar because of increase in production I Supply almost succeeded demand in that prices dropped Steady increase in consumption Conversion to a free market from the quotprotectionism offered the Wes Indian planters I Opening trade helped reduce prices but factory capitalism won out o For the working class eating more food with more sugar was an appropriate reaction to what British society had become 0 Theory of mercantilism o Some people believed in stagnant markets in which there is a limited amount of goods to be sold domestic or exports o Lowered prices meant lowered profits without compensation by increased sales o Some people hated idea of the downward diffusion of goods or materials preferred by the wealthy even if the poor could afford them o Others encouraged this consumption wanted to expand and create demand 0 Ideas to increase demand o More families or people with incomes should become involved in the market whether as sellers or buyers o Production had to exceed previous levels of consumption 0 quotoutside meaning of sugar involves it relationship with the history of the colonies policies and laws business and politics o But also deal with the quotinside meaning because people gave to sugar meaning that was influenced by those in charge of its availability instead of by the consumers 0 Plantation colonies provided opportunities for pioneering and business o Investors in the sugar economy gained lots of money o Planters usually came from rich families and added to their wealth o Planters had a lot of political influence because many of them were members of Parliament o Planters bankers slavers shippers refiners grocers people in government I All able to exercise their power in order to favor their rights to maintain all aspects of the production of sugar o Governing level of society had lots of political and economic influence because they determined through laws tariffs setting standards for materials etc the availability of sugar and other goods I This involves the quotoutside meaning of sugar and power quotintensification the practices that gave sugar meaning because it was considered extraordinary and ceremonial quotextensification the practices that turned sugar into an everyday ordinary yet essential material quotinside meaning of sugar comes from social context o Hot beverages stimulants mixed with sugar changed the definition of a meal o Economic changes transformed eating schedules o The working class people changed sugar use to fit into their own daily lives o Britain made the poor pay large taxes for sugar which kept sugar consumption lower than it could have been I Once these were lifted and price of sugar dropped domestic consumption began to overshadow exports of sugar After emancipation of slaves the West Indians and Africans of the British colonies were still closely tied to Britain because didn t have as much economic security as they needed Different factors of such a different diet for the United Kingdom o quotPrimate liking for the sweetness of sugar Ability to give meanings to the material world Connection between ingestion and social structures ALSO increased productivity of working class Different living conditions Readiness to imitate the royaltyupper class Spread of capitalist thinking By motivating a society39s consumption of a good the way that society defines itself is ultimately altered o Capitalism encourages the idea that a person could change if they consumed differently I This idea is connected to England39s transformation from a quothierarchical status based medieval society to a socia democratic capitalist and industrial society pg 185 Sugar had lots of symbolic power because it had multiple uses and meanings for different people OOOOOO
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