By Quentin Lewis
This booklet probes the materiality of development in early 19th century rural Massachusetts. development used to be a metaphor for human intervention within the dramatic adjustments happening to the English talking international within the 18th and 19th centuries as a part of a transition to business capitalism. The which means of development vacillated among principles of financial revenue and human betterment, yet in perform, development depended on a extensive assemblage of fabric issues and areas for coherence and enaction.
Utilizing archaeological info from the house of a prosperous farmer in rural Western Massachusetts, in addition to an research of early Republican agricultural guides, this ebook indicates how Improvement’s dual meanings of revenue and betterment opened up inconsistently throughout early 19th century New England. the development stream in Massachusetts emerged at a time of significant social instability, and served to ameliorate starting to be tensions among city and rural socioeconomic existence via a explanation of area. along this explanation, development additionally served to reshape rural landscapes in accordance with the social and monetary procedures of a modernizing worldwide capitalism. however the contradictions inherent in such procedures spurred and buttressed wealth inequality, ecological misery, and social dislocation.
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Additional resources for An Archaeology of Improvement in Rural Massachusetts: Landscapes of Profit and Betterment at the Dawn of the 19th century
38). These connections and networks were deeply implicated in the structure of Massachusetts society (see Chap. 4). Improvement’s two meanings overlap in the control and manipulation of land. The management, use, and manipulation of land were of paramount importance to those who subscribed to Improvement and its speciﬁc deﬁnition as proﬁt, and even its more general deﬁnition as progress. As Orser notes, in discussing Irish Improvement: A central feature of improvement philosophy was a precise conception of the land, because its proponents perceived that land could be consciously refashioned in a manner that would simultaneously increase its value and transﬁgure the human condition.
214–217) reading, what we often call “culture” is in part a set of shared symbolic experiences of space and time, and therefore, non-material or aesthetic categories will be implicated in how social life is envisioned, planned, and ultimately deployed. 28 2 Improvement, Capitalism, and Landscape Change At a more subtle level, and returning to Cosgrove’s assertion of landscapes as partial and based on viewpoint, the organization and arrangement of space can have powerful symbolic connotations, even outside of traditionally capitalist spaces such as workplaces.
Dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. Zilberstein, A. (2008). Planting improvement: The rhetoric and practice of scientific agriculture in northern British America, 1670–1820. Dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. , Krim, A. , Bradley, J. , & Brady, D. (1988). Historic & archaeological resources of the Connecticut River Valley: A framework for preservation decisions (management framework). Boston: Massachusetts Historical Commission. Chapter 2 Improvement, Capitalism, and Landscape Change When the last chapter began, we saw that the word “Improvement” was deployed in early nineteenth century rural Massachusetts in an ambiguous and ﬂuid way.
An Archaeology of Improvement in Rural Massachusetts: Landscapes of Profit and Betterment at the Dawn of the 19th century by Quentin Lewis