Networks of Material Mediation: Shopkeepers in Rural Community Social Dynamics

Author(s): Sara Morrow; Meredith S. Chesson

Year: 2017


While archaeologists have explored networks of trade and exchange of manufactured goods between rural communities, regional market towns, and urban centers, less attention has been given to the way that rural shops and shopkeepers played a significant role in the accessibility and distribution of material goods in local economies. Focused on the emergence of rural shops in Western coastal Ireland and islands of Inishark and Inishbofin, 1840-1950, this study will contribute to an understanding of how rural communities created and maintained local shops through tumultuous and stable periods of economic transition. Rural communities, in particular islanders, without the institutional support of the national government or mainland banks, forged unique pathways to acquire shop capital, import vital goods and supplies to communities, and make payments to urban wholesalers. Recent excavations by the Cultural Landscapes of the Irish Coast Project on Inishark and Inishbofin, combined with records of wholesale distribution networks in historic shop ledgers and oral history, will further an understanding of how rural, and at times isolated, communities mitigate their material status through unique forms of entrepreneurship and community cooperation.

Cite this Record

Networks of Material Mediation: Shopkeepers in Rural Community Social Dynamics. Sara Morrow, Meredith S. Chesson. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 432068)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16864