Consumer Society Reader

Consumer Society Reader

by Juliet B. Schor

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Schor (economics of leisure studies, Tilburg Univ., Netherlands) and Holt (advertising and sociology, Univ. of Illinois) have collected an impressive array of articles treating the multifarious aspects of consumer society. The anthology gathers classic essays by Theodor W. Adorno, Max Horkheimer, John Kenneth Galbraith, Stuart Ewen, Pierre Bourdieu, and other familiar critics of consumption and supplements them with newer, lesser-known works. Topics range from Barry Manilow fan clubs and black Barbie dolls to Italian scooters and adman Bill Bernbach's groundbreaking publicity campaign for Volkswagon in the early Sixties. The result is a rich, complex portrait of commodity consumption in the United States and other parts of the Western world. In the end, the anthology lets the reader decide: does society empower consumers to purchase things that will increase their sense of well-being and individuality, or have we become slaves to global capitalism, buying things we do not need and in the process destroying the planet with our wasteful habits? Recommended for academic and larger public libraries. (Introduction not seen.)--Andrew Brodie Smith, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Lib., Washington, DC Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Presents 28 essays<-->classic texts from intellectual superstars<-- >among them: Adorno and Horkheimer's "The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception"; Betty Friedan's "The Sexual Self"; Jean Baudrillard's "The Ideological Genesis of Needs"; Dick Hebdige's "Object as Image: The Italian Scooter Cycle"; Thorsten Veblen's "Conspicuous Consumption"; James Twitchell's "Two Cheers for Materialism"; and Karl Marx's "The Fetishism of the Commodity and Its Secret." Topics include the social organization of symbols, consumption and social inequality, the liberatory dimensions of consumer society, capitalism's tendency to commodify, and new critiques of consumer society. Essays are given dates but no information is provided about the contributors nor is there an index. Schor teaches women's studies at Harvard and leisure studies at Tilburg University in the Netherlands; Holt teaches marketing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Distributed by W.W. Norton. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

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New Press, The
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