Longing and Belonging: Parents, Children, and Consumer Culture / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Rent from BN.com
(Save 54%)
Est. Return Date: 09/10/2014
Buy Used
Buy Used from BN.com
(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 $4.93
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 83%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (22) from $4.93   
  • New (5) from $13.98   
  • Used (17) from $4.93   


"Tying shoelaces, jumping rope, listening to circle-time stories, Allison Pugh immersed herself in the busy—and commercial-studded—worlds of schoolchildren. In this brilliantly argued, lyrically written and riveting book, Pugh asks how kids cope with the incessant ads for the must-have toy, the latest shoe, the coolest game. Children don't cave into or resist capitalism, Pugh tells us. They build worlds of their own from it. 'Corporate marketing acts as a powerful mint,' she writes, 'always churning out shinier coinage, but not always dictating whether or how those tokens are used.' They set up their own Lilliputian 'economies of dignity' which poignantly determine who does and doesn't feel worthy of belonging to the group. A complement to Juliet Schor's Born to Buy, Pugh's book is a must-read."—Arlie Hochschild, author of The Time Bind and The Commercialization of Intimate Life

"Pugh is curious about what parents buy for their kids, what they refuse to buy, and why they make the decisions they do. But this isn't a marketing book. Far from it: Pugh is very critical of corporations that cynically target young children. But she is attempting to understand the social and emotional consequences of this commercial culture for children and for family life. She argues—quite convincingly—that consumerism has negatively impacted the quality of relationships in families and in society in general. By focusing on consumption instead of production, she also develops a fresh new approach to analyzing social inequality."—Christine Williams, author of Inside Toyland: Working, Shopping, and Social Inequality

"In her richly documented ethnographic study, Allison Pugh first identifies, then resolves, an important contrast in American working-class and middle-class approaches to their children's acquisition of consumer goods: symbolic indulgence on the working-class side, symbolic deprivation on the middle-class side. Her work offers deep insights into children's experience in contemporary America."—Viviana Zelizer, Princeton University

"Written with extraordinary grace and insight, Allison Pugh has given us a truly original and fresh way of understanding the material desires of children. With vivid interviews, she shows with both subtlety and force how the emotional needs of children and their parents has shaped overconsumption today. This should be read well beyond the academy and for a long time."—Gary Cross, author of An All-Consuming Century

"This imaginative and beautifully written book makes a significant contribution to the study of parents, children, consumption, and lived experiences of social inequality."—Barrie Thorne, author of Gender Play

"Going well beyond the standard story of manipulative advertising that turns our kids into greedy little consumption addicts, Longing and Belonging provides a fascinating portrait of how children themselves come to translate Gameboys and Nikes into personal dignity and social membership. This smart and highly readable book offers multiple insights into the cultures of class, race, parenting, and childhood in an increasingly materialistic America."—Sharon Hays, author of Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform

"With Longing and Belonging, Allison Pugh brings the study of children's consumer lives to a level of insight and clarity rarely encountered in the often panic-stricken and sanctimonious discussions surrounding kids and commercial life. Skillfully navigating the social landscape where children, inequality and consumer culture intersect, Pugh combines ethnographic empathy with deft sociological analysis in a manner that invites the reader to enter children's lives and see the world from their perspectives. This work represents a break from the received wisdom about children and commercialism and surely will mark a transition to new and thoughtful approaches to thinking about how consumption matters in everyday life."—Daniel Thomas Cook, author of The Commodification of Childhood

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Science (AAAS)

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520258440
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 3/4/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,487,325
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Allison J. Pugh is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Virginia.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Care and Belonging in the Market
Chapter 2. Differences in Common: Studying Inequality
Chapter 3. Making Do: Children and the Economy of Dignity
Chapter 4. Ambivalence and Allowances: Affluent Parents Respond
Chapter 5. The Alchemy of Desire into Need: Dilemmas of Low-Income Parenting
Chapter 6. Saying No: Resisting Children's Consumer Desires
Chapter 7. Consuming Contexts, Buying Hope: Shaping the Pathways of Children
Chapter 8. Conclusion: Beyond the Tyranny of Sameness


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 & Noble.com 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 & Noble.com 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 & Noble.com 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 BN.com 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 & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com 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 BN.com. 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)