Getting and Spending: European and American Consumer Societies in the Twentieth Century
The developing history of consumption is not so much a separate field, as a prism through which many aspects of social and political life may be viewed. The essays in this collection represent a variety of approaches in Europe and America; yet their commonalities suggest recent directions in the scholarship, raising such themes as consumption and democracy, the development of a global economy, the role of the state, the centrality of consumption to Cold War politics, the importance of the Second World War as a historical divide, the language of consumption, the contexts of locality, race, ethnicity, gender, and class, and the environmental consequences of twentieth-century consumer society. Implicitly, and sometimes explicitly, they explore the role of the historian as social, political, and moral critic. The essays discuss products, corporate strategies, government policies, and ideas about consumption. Unlike other studies of twentieth-century consumption, this book provides international comparisons.