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Travelling salesmen as agents of modernity in France (18th to 20th centuries)

Abstract : This paper reviews the available evidence on the history of travelling salesmen in France and offers more general hypotheses about the role of this profession in the «Great Transformation». Based on literary evidence as well as diverse archival material, it examines the emergence of a profession of its own from the mid-18th century and its expansion and recognition as an emblem of modernity from the 1830s to the beginning of the 20th century. It advocates a more systematic study of travelling salesmen and their position in the Industrial Revolution, the birth of large, integrated firms, the middle class and changes in the embeddedness of commer-cial transactions.
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Arnaud Bartolomei, Claire Lemercier. Travelling salesmen as agents of modernity in France (18th to 20th centuries). Zeitschrift für Unternehmensgeschichte, C.H.Beck, 2014, 59 (2), pp.135 - 153. ⟨hal-01317392v2⟩

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