By Clare Haru Crowston
Credit economies constituted "economies of regard" within which popularity trusted embodied performances of credibility. Crowston explores the function of trendy appearances and sexual hope in leveraging credits and reconstructs women's lively participation in its grey markets. The scandalous courting among Queen Marie Antoinette and type service provider Rose Bertin epitomizes the vertical loyalties and deep social divides of the credits regime and its more and more pressing political stakes.
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Extra resources for Credit, Fashion, Sex: Economies of Regard in Old Regime France
This sense of credit referred to the influence and power a courtier accrued from his or her social and political connections as well as from a range of assets like birth, fortune, and individual charisma. While the court was certainly a central forum for the exchange of credit in its political and social manifestations—and thus constitutes a starting point for the chapter—the focus on courtly credit has obscured the importance of the concept as a key explanatory mechanism for the operation of power throughout Old Regime society and culture.
According to Jean-Yves Grenier, infor12 Introduction From Credit, Fashion, Sex by Crowston, Clare Haru. 1215/9780822377443 mation possessed a particular value in the Old Regime economy, which was transitioning from a premarket to an industrial society. As he put it: In this type of economy, information is rare, poorly distributed, often secret and even more highly valued because it is the source of important profits. This characteristic is more easily perceived by its difference from societies without markets, where it [information] is at once more ritualized and less necessary because the goods exchanged vary little and are well-codified, and from industrial economies where techniques of production and of information transfer occupy a central place.
35 A final—and crucial—point to note regarding the politics of credit at court is the constant and complex interplay between financial and political credit. Extended and repeated credit from a host of merchants and financiers was in30 Chapter 1 From Credit, Fashion, Sex by Crowston, Clare Haru. 1215/9780822377443 dispensable for obtaining political and social credit (merchants to supply the lavish food, drink, furnishings, coaches, and clothing for display of rank and financiers for the loans needed to purchase royal offices and titles).