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Wool and Society : Manufacturing Policy, Economic Thought and Local Production in 18th-century Iceland

Robertsdottir, Hrefna LU (2008) In Centrum för Danmarksstudier 21.
Abstract
This is a study of wool in Icelandic history in a broad context, whereby wool production

serves as a channel to central aspects of 18th-century society. The objective is to explore ideas

about Iceland’s economy that were current in the 18th century in the light of developments in

Denmark at the time, to place these ideas in the context of the recent introduction of workshopmanufacturing

to Iceland, and to consider the impact such ideas had on the local community.

The central questions of the study are: what were the characteristics of manufacturing policy

and production in Iceland in the 18th century? How did economic thought interact with the

economy and production of the... (More)
This is a study of wool in Icelandic history in a broad context, whereby wool production

serves as a channel to central aspects of 18th-century society. The objective is to explore ideas

about Iceland’s economy that were current in the 18th century in the light of developments in

Denmark at the time, to place these ideas in the context of the recent introduction of workshopmanufacturing

to Iceland, and to consider the impact such ideas had on the local community.

The central questions of the study are: what were the characteristics of manufacturing policy

and production in Iceland in the 18th century? How did economic thought interact with the

economy and production of the time? And what does manufacturing tell us about Icelandic

society in the 18th century and the changes that were taking place during that period? My

analysis of the contemporary debate on economic life in Iceland and Denmark, and my local

studies of the economies of different regions of Iceland during the late 18th century have resulted

in a picture of a society in Iceland that was more varied, regionally structured and flexible than

has generally been recognized.

The principal hypothesis of this study is that the introduction of manufacturing in the

18th century can be interpreted as internal utilisation within the old order, rather than being

connected to the future changes and industrialisation of the 19th century. Manufacturing had

moral, social and economic aspects that can hardly be distinguished if the goals and impact on

society are to be understood in their contemporary context. Innovations in Iceland’s economy

in the second half of the 18th century were part of the expansion of manufacturing, and in

ideological and economic terms reflect the situation within the early modern society rather than

being connected to the social changes that took place in the 19th century, with the concomitant

introduction of wage labour and the factory production of wool products.

Before the 18th century, Iceland had lain largely outside the authorities’ sphere of interest and

no serious attempts had been made to influence its economy. However, during the 18th century,

in common with other dependencies and outlying provinces, Iceland became a participant in

the general development of the Danish state. Contemporary economic policy dictated that the

provinces should contribute to the general good of the realm as well as strengthening their own

economies from within. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • professor Thorláksson, Helgi, Department of history, University of Iceland
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
18th-century, economic thought, Iceland, Denmark, workshops, production techniques, rural production, manufactures, proto-industries, privileges, police-ordinances, economic policy
in
Centrum för Danmarksstudier
volume
21
pages
480 pages
publisher
Makadam förlag
defense location
Historiska Institutionen, Magle stora kyrkogata 12A, Sal 3, Lund
defense date
2008-10-18 10:15
ISSN
1651-775X
ISBN
978-91-7061-056-1
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
bf6a7f92-b1f0-46f0-894e-c1f4e19177d3 (old id 1241151)
date added to LUP
2008-09-23 11:53:49
date last changed
2016-10-07 11:02:30
@phdthesis{bf6a7f92-b1f0-46f0-894e-c1f4e19177d3,
  abstract     = {This is a study of wool in Icelandic history in a broad context, whereby wool production<br/><br>
serves as a channel to central aspects of 18th-century society. The objective is to explore ideas<br/><br>
about Iceland’s economy that were current in the 18th century in the light of developments in<br/><br>
Denmark at the time, to place these ideas in the context of the recent introduction of workshopmanufacturing<br/><br>
to Iceland, and to consider the impact such ideas had on the local community.<br/><br>
The central questions of the study are: what were the characteristics of manufacturing policy<br/><br>
and production in Iceland in the 18th century? How did economic thought interact with the<br/><br>
economy and production of the time? And what does manufacturing tell us about Icelandic<br/><br>
society in the 18th century and the changes that were taking place during that period? My<br/><br>
analysis of the contemporary debate on economic life in Iceland and Denmark, and my local<br/><br>
studies of the economies of different regions of Iceland during the late 18th century have resulted<br/><br>
in a picture of a society in Iceland that was more varied, regionally structured and flexible than<br/><br>
has generally been recognized.<br/><br>
The principal hypothesis of this study is that the introduction of manufacturing in the<br/><br>
18th century can be interpreted as internal utilisation within the old order, rather than being<br/><br>
connected to the future changes and industrialisation of the 19th century. Manufacturing had<br/><br>
moral, social and economic aspects that can hardly be distinguished if the goals and impact on<br/><br>
society are to be understood in their contemporary context. Innovations in Iceland’s economy<br/><br>
in the second half of the 18th century were part of the expansion of manufacturing, and in<br/><br>
ideological and economic terms reflect the situation within the early modern society rather than<br/><br>
being connected to the social changes that took place in the 19th century, with the concomitant<br/><br>
introduction of wage labour and the factory production of wool products.<br/><br>
Before the 18th century, Iceland had lain largely outside the authorities’ sphere of interest and<br/><br>
no serious attempts had been made to influence its economy. However, during the 18th century,<br/><br>
in common with other dependencies and outlying provinces, Iceland became a participant in<br/><br>
the general development of the Danish state. Contemporary economic policy dictated that the<br/><br>
provinces should contribute to the general good of the realm as well as strengthening their own<br/><br>
economies from within.},
  author       = {Robertsdottir, Hrefna},
  isbn         = {978-91-7061-056-1},
  issn         = {1651-775X},
  keyword      = {18th-century,economic thought,Iceland,Denmark,workshops,production techniques,rural production,manufactures,proto-industries,privileges,police-ordinances,economic policy},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {480},
  publisher    = {Makadam förlag},
  series       = {Centrum för Danmarksstudier},
  title        = {Wool and Society : Manufacturing Policy, Economic Thought and Local Production in 18th-century Iceland},
  volume       = {21},
  year         = {2008},
}