The Expert Consumer: Associations and Professionals in Consumer Society

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Overview

Recent work has focused on the politics of consumption and its manifestation in a number of situations. This volume extends these debates, providing a tighter focus and contributing to a noticeable gap in the field that numerous scholars (particularly in North America) are beginning to turn towards: that is, organizations of consumers themselves who have chosen to speak for all consumers and similar such bodies of experts which act on behalf of consumers. The volume is fortunate in drawing upon a number of scholars who are about to publish major works on the subject, but who are happy to provide summary versions of their work for the volume.

The book pays particular attention to specific moments in consumer mobilization and expertise, capturing the range of types of expert consumers across the twentieth century, from ethical consumer groups at the beginning, to intellectuals, housewives, economists and public officials. It addresses questions on the nature of consumer organizing, which bodies can speak for consumers, whether one consumer voice can ever be identified and the relationship between the consumption and citizenship. The overview pieces by Hilton and Kroen demonstrate the larger narratives involved in the study of the expert consumer; whilst the more comparative pieces out the nature of transatlantic exchanges and the similarities across seemingly different consumption regimes; and further case studies of organizations and historical moments will draw out the specificities of consumer associations.

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Product Details

Table of Contents

1 'Through the medium of their pockets' : sabbatarianism, free produce, non intercourse and the significance of 'early modern' consumer activism 21
2 The moral expertise of the British consumer, c. 1900 : a debate between the Christian social union and the Webbs 37
3 Consumers' leagues in France : a transatlantic perspective 53
4 Educating consumers, representing consumers : reforming the marketplace through scientific expertise at the Bureau of Home Economics, United States Department of Agriculture, 1923-1940 73
5 The enemy within : food, nutrition experts and consumers in French-speaking Switzerland, 1900-1946 89
6 Shopping for an 'economic miracle' : gendered politics of consumer citizenship in divided Germany 105
7 Consumers' associations and the state : protection and defence of the consumer in France, 1950-2000 123
8 Shopping for the 'people's home' : consumer planning in Norway and Sweden after the Second World War 137
9 The entrepreneurial ethic and the spirit of consumerism : finances and strategy in the US consumer movement 151
10 Living in the city differently : the birth of new expertise in France in the 1960s and 1970s 167
11 The organised consumer movement since 1945 187
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