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    Crossing divides: consumption and globalization in history

    Trentmann, Frank (2009) Crossing divides: consumption and globalization in history. Journal of Consumer Culture 9 (2), pp. 187-220. ISSN 1469-5405.

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    This article has two aims. First, it seeks to raise awareness about three competing frameworks that are currently dominating the debate about consumption and globalization: 18th-century global exchanges; Americanization; and consumerism. These have tended to operate in virtual isolation and ignorance from each other. Second, through a critical discussion of recent research, the article sets out to complicate conventional chronologies of tradition/modernity/late modernity that continue to underpin much research on consumer cultures. Instead of a linear progression from diversity to standardization, from gift-exchange to commodity-exchange, and from public engagement to privatized materialism, the article points to the dynamic interaction between these forms across time. An appreciation of these longer, deeper, and more variegated histories means that it is problematic to equate consumer culture with the 'age of affluence' after the Second World War. In turn, it calls on critics of consumerism to adopt a more realistic and historically sensitive approach that engages with the longer evolution of consumer culture and avoids idealized images of a recent pre-consumerist past.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Americanization, consumer culture, consumerism, diversity, empire, practices
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2011 08:15
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 16:55


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