Sociological Theories/Analysis, Social Class, Consumer Welfare/Quality of Life, Cultural Theories and Analysis, Communication
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Historians and social scientists analyzing the contemporary world unfortunately have too little contact and hence miss some of the ways that their interests overlap and the research of one field might benefit another. I am, therefore, extremely grateful that the Journal of Consumer Research has invited me to share with its readers an overview of my recent research on the political and social impact of the flourishing of mass consumption on twentieth-century America. What follows is a summary of my major arguments, enough to entice you, I hope, to read A Consumers' Republic (Cohen 2003), in which I elaborate on these themes. Although this essay is by necessity schematic, the book itself is filled with extensive historical evidence and is heavily illustrated with period...

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