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Extensive, economical and elegant : the habitus of gentility in early nineteenth century Sydney

Young, Linda 2004, Extensive, economical and elegant : the habitus of gentility in early nineteenth century Sydney, Australian historical studies, vol. 36, no. 124, pp. 201-220.

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Title Extensive, economical and elegant : the habitus of gentility in early nineteenth century Sydney
Author(s) Young, Linda
Journal name Australian historical studies
Volume number 36
Issue number 124
Start page 201
End page 220
Publisher University of Melbourne
Place of publication Melbourne, Vic.
Publication date 2004-10
ISSN 1031-461X
1940-5049
Summary This paper challenges the modern expectation that mahogany furniture and silver cutlery were self-evident indicators of gentry status in colonial Sydney through close analysis of a bundle of middle class household inventories of the 1840s. They are considered as evidence of habitus--the structuring interaction of mentality with the material world--in order to demonstrate the active principle of consumption in the claim or assertion of bourgeois standing, which was particularly lively in the colony. A range of competences can he seen in the practice of gentility, which suggests that the possession of rosewood rather than mahogany, or imitation silver rather than sterling, was a variation shaped not merely by wealth but by cultural capital. This exposes strands of contingency, competition and compromise in middle class expression.
Language eng
Field of Research 210303 Australian History (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2004, University of Melbourne
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30016773

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of History, Heritage and Society
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