Consumer Society in American History: A Reader

Paperback (Print)
Rent from
(Save 67%)
Est. Return Date: 07/29/2015
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 34%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $3.34
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 88%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (20) from $3.34   
  • New (4) from $29.95   
  • Used (16) from $3.34   


Consumption has often been called America's true national pastime. From the earliest European explorers trading with Native Americans to today's Internet shoppers, consumerism has driven American society. Until recent years, however, consumerism has received little serious attention from historians and other scholars.

This welcome volume offers the most comprehensive and incisive exploration of American consumer history to date. The first book on this topic to span the four centuries from the colonial era to the present, and the first to propose theoretical frameworks, the volume brings consumer society to the center of American history. Indeed, its authors demonstrate the many ways their research enhances knowledge of a broad range of historical topics, such as politics, labor ideology, immigrant life, and race, gender, and class relations. By including types of consumer studies which are seldom linked, this volume offers both a basis for historical synthesis and a springboard for further inquiry.

With contributions by Raymond Williams, Jean Baudrillard, Juliet B. Schor, Kim Moody, Jean-Christophe Agnew, and many others, plus the most comprehensive bibliographical essay ever produced on the historiography of American consumption, Consumer Society in American History will take its place as the definitive sourcebook for this emerging field.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The anthology presents a highly engaging sample of divergent viewpoints. . . . The strengths of the anthology are in the analytical breadth of its essays. "—History: Reviews of New Books

"The book mixes the agenda-setting works of established historians and cultural critics . . . with case studies provided by younger scholars. . . and historians not usually associated with works on consumption. . . as well as statements made on the nature of consumerism by journalists and activists. . . . Glickman has provided a group of essays potentially more representative of future explorations into consumer society. . . . His book will be an extremely useful introduction to the current research on consumer history."—Business History

"This thoughtful and solidly documented collection looks at consumption with an eye both to the past and to the world. . . Comprising 24 excellently chosen selections . . . the book enables the reader to see both how consumption changed over time, and how the analysis of consumption has changed over time."—Labor History

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801484865
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 932,478
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Born to Shop? Consumer History and American History - LAWRENCE B. GLICKMAN

Part I. Frameworks and Definitions
2. Consuming Goods and the Good of Consuming - COLIN CAMPBELL
3. Consumer Society - JEAN BAUDRILLARD
4. What Is an Economy For? - JAMES FALLOWS
5. An Environmentalist's Perspective on Consumer Society - ALAN DURNING

Part II. Roots of American Consumer Society
6. The First Consumer Revolution - JAMES AXTELL
7. Narrative of Commercial Life: Consumption, Ideology, and Community on the Eve of the American Revolution - T. H. BREEN
8. Consumption in Early Modern Social Thought - JOYCE APPLEBY

Part III. Class, Gender, and Modernity, 1880-1940
9. Encountering Mass Culture at the Grassroots: The Experience of Chicago Workers in the 1920s - LIZABETH COHEN
10. Familiar Sounds of Change: Music and the Growth of Mass Culture - GEORGE SANCHEZ
11. From Scarcity to Abundance: The Immigrant as Consumer - ANDREW HEINZE
12. Consuming Brotherhood: Men's Culture, Style and Recreation as Consumer Culture, 1880-1930 - MARK A. SWIENCICKI
13. "Don't Buy Where You Can't Work" - CHERYL GREENBERG

Part IV. Consumerism Since World War II
14. The 'Work' Ethic and 'Leisure' Activity: The Hot Rod in Post-War America - H. F. MOORHOUSE
15. The Commodity Gap: Consumerism and the Modern Home - ELAINE TYLER MAY
16. The Revolution Will be Marketed: American Corporations and Black Consumers During the 1960s - ROBERT E. WEEMS, JR.
17. All Work and No Play. It Doesn't Pay - JULIET B. SCHOR
18. When High Wage Jobs Are Gone, Who Will Buy What We Make? - KIM MOODY

Part V. Critiques and Celebrations
20. Delectable Materialism: Second Thoughts on Consumer Culture - MICHAEL SCHUDSON
21. The Tyranny of Choice - STEVEN WALDMAN
22. The Pleasures of Eating - WENDELL BERRY
Coming Up for Air: Consumer Culture in Historical Perspective - JEAN-CHRISTOPHE AGNEW

Bibliographic Essay - LAWRENCE B. GLICKMAN

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)