Marknad på väg. Den västgötska gårdfarihandeln 1790–1864

Sammanfattning: Lundqvist, P. (2008.) Marknad på väg : den västgötska gårdfarihandeln 1790–1864. [Market on the road : peddling from the province of Västergötland 1790–1864] 324 pages. Avhandlingar från Historiska institutionen i Göteborg nr 52. Written in swedish with an english summary. ISBN 91 88614 68 9. This thesis studies the itinerant trade from a small geographical area in southern Sweden, Sjuhäradsbygden in the province of Västergötland. During the studied period, 1790–1864, pedlars from this region distributed goods to practically all of Sweden and also to its neighbouring countries. This study shows the huge extent and the wide geographical scope of peddling – and above all – its importance for the spreading of goods, for the increase in demand and in the prolongation also for the growth of a consumer society and industrialization. The main purpose of the investigation is to explain the strong position the pedlars from this region had in the Swedish textile market during the transition period between feudally-influenced privileged society and market society. The investigation has shown some factors to have been especially important in explaining the strong position of the peddling from Västergötland in pre-industrial Sweden: lack of competition, access to capital, flexibility, specialization and knowledge. In a greater historical context this study leads to a reconsideration of the earlier view of peddling. Perhaps the most important results of the study show how fluid the limits are between various forms of trade and between urban and rural economy. Peddling, with its connections to proto-industry, factory production, textile processing industry and town merchants all over the country, is a good example of the interaction between various regions and forms of production in the pre-industrial society. The dichotomies between country and town and interior and foreign trade, that the previous commercial historical research used, appear in other words far too simplified. This study has also shown that peddling has had the same importance in Sweden for early consumption chande and increase as well as in the rest of Western Europe. Keywords: Pedlars, Sweden, 18th century, 19th century, internal trade, textile market, distribution, consumer demand, credit networks, institutional change, peasants, households, division of labour

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