Point of Purchase: How Shopping Changed American Culture / Edition 1

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This accessible, smart, and expansive book on shopping's impact on American life is in part historical, stretching back to the mid-19th century, yet also has a contemporary focus, with material on recent trends in shopping from the internet to Zagat's guides.

Drawing inspiration from both Pierre Bourdieu's work and Walter Benjamin's seminal essay on the shopping arcades of 19th-century Paris, Zukin explores the forces that have made shopping so central to our lives: the rise of consumer culture, the never-ending quest for better value, and shopping's ability to help us improve our social status and attain new social identities.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Sharon Zukin avoids clich├ęs, never ducks an argument, and digs out unfamiliar facts. The result is a brilliant and unsettling essay." - Richard Sennett, London School of Economics
Library Journal
Using her own keen shopper's eyes to comb through a variety of sources, Zukin (sociology, CUNY Graduate Ctr.) assembles a compelling study of a national passion. This book is not meant to explore the entire history of shopping but to examine how shopping has become a focus of American culture. The adroit juxtaposition of source types lends Zukin's arguments credence. A New Yorker, she uses that city as a major focus, and, in addition to employing scholarly research and personal interviews, she draws on department stores' histories and works by influential executives such as Marvin Traub. Zukin is careful to explain that she is not seeking to chastise Americans for being greedy shopaholics. Instead, she wants to understand what she considers one of the main ways in which people create value in their lives and express themselves. Unlike Thomas Hine's I Want That!, a well-organized and comprehensive popular history, this is a web of interconnected chapter studies with a scholarly bent and plentiful endnotes. It will appeal to students of contemporary American culture, business, and fashion. Accordingly, most academic libraries will find this a worthwhile purchase, and larger public libraries should also consider.-Audrey Snowden, Brewer, ME Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415950435
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 3/28/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,387,284
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Sharon Zukin teaches sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center and at Brooklyn College, where she holds an endowed chair. She is the author of numerous books and articles, and is a major figure in both urban studies and cultural sociology. She lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Prologue: What Shopping Is
1. A Brief History of Shopping
2. Julia Learns to Shop
3. From Woolworth's to Wal-Mart
4. "The Perfect Pair of Leather Pants"
5. B. Altman, Ralph Lauren, and the Death of the Leisure Class
6. Artemio Goes to Tiffany's
7. Consumer Guides and the Invention of Lifestyle
8. How Brooks Brothers Came to Look Like Banana Republic
9. The Zen of Internet Shopping
10. Zagats' 'R' Us
Epilogue: What Shopping Should Be

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