May 10, 2007, 4-8pm, Countries, Cultures, Communication: Digital Innovation at UCLA
The Unmaking of Markets: A Composite Visual History

UCLA College of Letters and Science, Social Sciences Division

Umaking of Markets title pagePrimary contact
Rebecca Jean Emigh
Associate Professor
(310) 206-9546

Project URL

Project description

Visual composites are new methodological devices that combine images from disparate sources to provide more detailed information than would be otherwise possible. Like other microhistorical or ethnographic techniques, they make it possible to explore the lives of ordinary individuals in the distant past. The composites support the substantive argument that the transition to full scale industrial capitalism did not occur in fifteenth-century Tuscany because the spread of urban capitalist markets paradoxically eroded rural market institutions, making it impossible for the majority of the Tuscan population to participate in markets. In rural regions, well-developed markets for land, labor, credit, and commodities existed and were linked to cultural practices of property devolution and agricultural production. However, when wealthy Florentines purchased land in these regions, rural inhabitants were priced out of these markets and their cultural and economic activities were delinked from them. Thus, capitalist markets unmade themselves as they spread in Tuscany.

Thanks to Tara McPherson, Steve Anderson, and Erik Loyer. Financial support came from: The Annenberg Center for Communication, The University of Southern California; the Institute for Multimedia Literacy, the University of Southern California; UCLA Social Science Divisional Funds provided by Scott Waugh; the UCLA Seed Grant Program for Multidisciplinary and Collaborative Research in Humanities and Social Sciences; and the GTE Foundation.

Project video