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Reconstructing the Industrial Revolution: analyses, perceptions and conceptions of Britain’s precocious transition to Europe’s first industrial society

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The Industrial Revolution continues to be analysed by economic historians deploying the conceptual vocabularies of modern social science, particularly economics. Their approach which gives priority to the elaboration of causes and processes of evolution is far too often and superficially contrasted with post-modern forms of social and cultural history with their aspirations to recover the meanings of the Revolution for those who lived through its turmoil and for ‘witnesses’ from the mainland who visited the offshore economy between 1815-48. Our purpose is to demonstrate how three distinct reconstructions of the Revolution are only apparently in conflict and above all that a contextualised analysis of observations of travellers from the mainland and the United States provides several clear insights into Britain’s famous economic transformation.

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en

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application/pdf

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/22337/1/WP84.pdf

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