Frank Trentmann

  • Freedom or consumer terror?
  • Self-realization and its limits in the age of consumption
  • Lecture

The event will take place exclusively online in the free YouTube livestream. Questions and discussion contributions can be submitted in the live chat of the event or gladly in advance via email to
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The history of consumption is abundance but also scarcity and crisis.
Frank Trentmann takes a historical look at our current crisis and asks what consumption does to our freedom. He traces how modernity discovered the “material self,” and the consumer rose to be a citizen, with duties as well as rights.

Consumption is always in tension between individual choice and everyday social habits. What can we learn from past crises for our present crisis and the prospect of changing our consumption? What does consumption do to our freedom?

Historian and consumer researcher Frank Trentmann is Professor of History at Birkbeck University in London, Associate at the Centre for Consumer Society Research, Helsinki, and author of Rule of Things (2017).

In the series Becoming Human?

In cooperation with DGB and GEW Rhein-Neckar


Free online event

Admission is free.