The coffee house as a form of social and cultural landscape

The emergence of the British coffee house is a perfect example of a cultural shift as an expression through urban landscape, visible in the way that public space was used and considered in early modern, pre-industrial England.  I am referring, in particular, to the political and intellectual landscape of the coffeehouse, which was at that time a growing phenomena in European cities.  By taking the Marxist approach outlined in Everyday America we can attempt to determine who and what shaped these urban and rural landscapes.  First, it is clear that these spaces were tied materially and economically to trade commerce.  The exchange of goods that took place in the 17th century directly influenced different social movements by providing a different type of social atmosphere to the public, which in turn influenced the political and economic fabric of the larger community.  This is a development that was at once an outlet to and of pre-industrial social organization, and it served as a social agitator to the old, monarchical social structure.  The institution had its beginnings with the older order of established intellectuals at Oxford, but eventually (whether the monarchy liked it or not) trickled its way to the working man.  The coffee house exhibits many of these transformational experiences and expressions, visible in each of its different forms and stages of development.  I think an investigation into the “sense of space” will merit a variety of meaning, a plethora of definitions to individuals of the 16th and 17th centuries, in accordance to their class, political stance, and (but not limit to) religious leanings, which are all a part of the larger cultural surroundings.  In turn, the social opportunity that the coffee house delivered to individuals allowed them to influence their larger social experience.  For this particular example, I think it would be possible to look at  the development of the coffee house in order to understand how class influences social spaces.  I can also see how an investigation could illustrate how hegemony and ideology is disseminated through the control of knowledge and ideas, and how hegemony and ideology is challenged through social channels such as the coffee house, as it provided urban populations with a stimulating, sobering, and egalitarian (ish) forum not previously open to working and lower classes.