consumer culture

  • Christmas Dies Hard

    The urban bourgeoisie of the 19th century pushed Christmas away from a drunken celebration of leisure and toward a holiday merging piety and consumerism. 

  • America’s Most Hated Garment

    Atlantic writer Amanda Mull turns to fashion historians Marley Healy and Valerie Steele to place the growing social acceptance of sweatpants in a pattern of clothing standards changing in response to cultural influences and social conditions. 

  • The Long Golden Age of Useless, American Crap

    by Wendy A. Woloson

    Consuming habits encouraged by business and embraced by average Americans make crappy stuff part of the American way of life. While decrying waste, the author argues it's important to recognize that cheap goods allow Americans of modest means to participate in the national lifestyle. 

  • Looking Out For Each Other

    by Leah Valtin-Erwin

    The wrenching transitions that East Germans faced in adapting to western commercial culture after reunification offer lessons for the COVID crisis, and a warning that the burdens of managing social change and stress often fall on retail workers. 

  • Does it Really Matter if Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben get Retired?

    Historian Rita Roberts explains how the iconography of black service workers reinforced white supremacist ideology on consumer packaging, while Jason Chambers and Gregory Smithers discuss the relationship of the business community to changing norms about racism.