Cores and Peripheries Reconsidered: Economic Development, Trade and Cultural Images in the Eighteenth-Century Habsburg Monarchy
University of Linz
This article explores the relationship between economic development and the trans-regional division of labor in the eighteenth-century Habsburg Monarchy. Using world-systemic models and postcolonial approaches, I offer a critical revision of traditional narratives on the economic history of the Habsburg dominions as a point of departure for a reconsideration of regional disparities in the Habsburg dominions. I examine the relationship between the geopolitical power position of the Monarchy and the socioeconomic transformations towards proto-industries and commercial agriculture in the course of the eighteenth century, with a focus on trade as a major factor which affected the way in which domestic market formation and economic interregional entanglement influenced the emergence of a split between cores and peripheries in the Habsburg dominions. In the last part of the article, I examine the discourses and cultural images which shaped the political-institutional framework regulating these exchange relations. I observe that orientalist metaphors about the Eastern peripheries were a symptom of the way in which some policy instruments were designed in favor of the core areas over the peripheral regions.
Keywords: economic history, Habsburg Monarchy, trade, cameralism, cultural images