Learning outcomes of the course unit
This course offers a description and analysis of the changes leading to the definition of the modern food product distribution system. The analysis will specifically concern the historical period following the Industrial Revolution, illustrating also through the use of case studies offering a comparative approach, the innovation processes that took place in the main retail sales structures.
Course contents summary
An introduction will be given to the main transformations that occurred during the pre-industrial age: Genesis of the international food product market, integration between local and international trade circuits, development of retail distribution systems in European urban centres. The course will then go on to consider the English case, examining the changes and innovations that accompanied the industrialisation process in the 19th century, in particular the passage from small to large-scale distribution. It will also analyse the main developments in food distribution up to the 1960s including the consolidation of the supermarket and the reorganisation of the small retail sector, with particular reference to the United States and Italy. The course will conclude by examining the theoretical contributions to the issue of transformation of distribution system structures between the 19th and 20th centuries.
R. SCOLA, Food markets and shops in Manchester, 1770-1870, in ?Journal of Historical Geography?, 1 (1975), pp. 153-167.
D. ALEXANDER, Retailing in England during the Industrial Revolution, London 1970, chap. 5, pp. 110-128.
J. BENSON-G. SHAW (eds.), The Evolution of Retail Systems, c. 1800-1914, Leicester 1992, chaps. 1 and 7, pp. 1-14 and 107-134.
G. SHAW, Changes in consumer demand and food supply in nineteenth-century British cities, in ?Journal of Historical Geography?, 11 (1985), pp. 280-296.
P. MATHIAS, Retailing Revolution. A History of Multiple Retailing in the Food Trades Based Upon the Allied Suppliers Group of Companies, London 1967, chap. 7, pp. 125-147.
J. JEFFERYS-D. KNEE, Retailing in Europe. Present Structure and Future Trends, London 1962, chaps. 3-4, pp. 49-85.
R. J. MARKIN, The Supermarket: an Analysis of Growth Development and Change, Pullman 1968, chap. 2, pp. 6-21.
G. M. LEBHAR, Chain Stores in America, 1859-1962, New York 1963, chaps. 2 and 3, pp. 24-64.
E. SCARPELLINI, Comprare all’americana. Origini della rivoluzione commerciale in Italia: 1945-1971, Bologna 2001, introduction and chaps. 3 and 5, pp. 11-24, 123-166, 247-273 and 317-320.
The course concludes with a written examination acting as a pre-registration for the attending students. Those who do not sit the written exam or do not pass it may sit the exam orally.
The attending students may sit the exam by writing an essay on a subject agreed with the professor.