• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

The last decade has witnessed a clear and steady rise of interest in consumer culture. Many commentators now argue that consumption rather than production is the axis of personal identity and meaningful social action - a standpoint that reverses the traditional view that consumption is an incidental, trivial feature in contemporary culture. This shrewd and probing book seeks to theorize shopping as an autonomous realm. It avoids the reductionist characteristics of economics and marketing. At the same time it avoids the moralizing tone of many contemporary discussions of shopping and consumption. The book uses an interdisciplinary resource base and comparative data to build-up a convincing analysis of the meaning of shopping

Modernity's Disavowal: Women, the City and the Department Store
Modernity's disavowal: Women, the city and the department store
Introduction: A Genealogy of Absence

This project started out as an investigation of the position of women in modernity. By focusing on shopping and the emergence of the department store as key iconic aspects of modern urban society my intention was to argue against those theorists who defined modernity of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as a public stage from which women were excluded. However, my attempt to integrate conceptualizations of modernity with questions raised by feminism and the culture of consumption revealed a surprising paucity of theoretical and historical work – a phenomenon which itself required explanation. Increasingly, therefore, my project was transformed into a genealogy ...

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