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Marianne in the Market: Envisioning Consumer Society in Fin-de-Siecle France / Edition 1

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Overview

In the late nineteenth century, controversy over the social ramifications of the emerging consumer marketplace beset the industrialized nations of the West.
In France, various commentators expressed concern that rampant commercialization threatened the republican ideal of civic-mindedness as well as the French reputation for good taste. The female bourgeois consumer was a particularly charged figure because she represented consumption run amok. Critics feared that the marketplace compromised her morality and aesthetic discernment, with dire repercussions for domestic life and public order.

Marianne in the Market traces debates about the woman consumer to examine the complex encounter between the market and the republic in nineteenth-century France. It explores how agents of capitalism—advertisers, department store managers, fashion journalists, self-styled taste experts—addressed fears of consumerism through the forging of an aesthetics of the marketplace: a "marketplace modernism."
In so doing, they constructed an image of the bourgeois woman as the solution to the problem of unrestrained, individualized, and irrational consumption. Commercial professionals used taste to civilize the market and to produce consumers who would preserve the French aesthetic patrimony. Tasteful consumption legitimized women’s presence in the urban public and reconciled their roles as consumers with their domestic and civic responsibilities.

A fascinating case study, Marianne in the Market builds on a wide range of sources such as the feminine press, decorating handbooks, exposition reports, advertising materials, novels, and etiquette books. Lisa Tiersten draws on these materials to make the compelling argument that market professionals used the allure of aesthetically informed consumerism to promote new models of the female consumer and the market in keeping with Republican ideals.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520225299
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 9/20/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Lisa Tiersten is Assistant Professor of History at Barnard College.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
Acknowledgments

Introduction
Part I: The Problem of the Marketplace
1. Marianne in the Department Store: Commercial Paris and the Civic Vision of the Republic
2. "The Mercantile Spirit of Our Epoch": The Aesthetic Crisis of the Republic
Part II. Civilizing Consumption
3. Being Bourgeois: The Rise of Aesthetic
Individuality
4. Marketplace Modernism: Reinventing the Chic Parisienne
5. The Chic
Interior: Marketplace Modernism in the Bourgeois Home
6. Consumer Citizenship and the Republicanization of the Market
Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography

Index

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