Innovations in Material Culture


To study innovations in material culture means to look at a lot of differences in historical and present times. Starting with an example of the late 17th century we will look at the changing kinds of treasuring up of silver stocks. Besides this the reasons for innovations are discussed - why do people cease to use one object and start to use another. Is it due to changing attitudes or to create advantage and what can be said about the importance of norms and values? Concerning the differences in historical times and nowadays we will focus on the sources and methods, especially concerning social conditions and present lifestyle. Recent German studies such as Gerhard Schulze's and the Outfit-Studies are presented and discussed briefly. Finally some reasons for the differences such as the rapidity of change, the question of supply and demand, the social rank orders and others are taken into account and underlined.

How to Cite

Mohrmann, R., (1993) “Innovations in Material Culture”, Ethnologia Europaea 23(2), 171-175. doi:


Download PDF



Ruth-E. Mohrmann (University of Münster)



Publication details



Creative Commons Attribution 4.0


Peer Review

This article has been peer reviewed.

File Checksums (MD5)

  • PDF: 3a2f358901a52f51ba1f3696cc80bc3e