Carried Away: The Invention of Modern Shopping

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9780231122740: Carried Away: The Invention of Modern Shopping
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Asserting that a history of shopping was, until recently, a history of women, Rachel Bowlby trains her eye on the evolution of the modern shopper. She uses a compelling blend of history, literary analysis, and cultural criticism to explore the rise of department stores and supermarkets of the United States, France, and Great Britain.

Bowlby recalls the fascinating early days of these institutions. In the mid-nineteenth century, when department stores first developed, their fabulous new buildings brought middle-class women into town, where they could indulge in what was then a new activity: a day's shopping. The stores offered luxury, flattering women into believing that they belonged in a beautiful environment. It is here, Bowlby argues, that the idea of the modern woman's passion for fashion and shopping took hold.

Developed in the twentieth century, supermarkets took an opposite tack: they offered functionality, standardization, and cheapness. However, Bowlby claims, despite their differences, the two institutions belong together as emblematic of their respective eras' social developments: the department store with the growth of cities, the supermarket with the proliferation of suburbs. With their dazzling lights and displays, both supermarkets and department stores were thought to produce in females an enhanced or trance-like state of mind.

For readers who regard shopping as a spectator or participatory sport, and for those who wish to understand our culture and the psychology of women, or those who simply enjoy a witty, literate romp through the aisles, Carried Away is the perfect purchase.

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Book Description:

Asserting that a history of shopping has been, until recently, a history of women, Bowlby trains her eye on the evolution of the modern shopper. She examines the curious history of our ideas about women and consumption―from the glamorous nineteenth-century department store to our own functionalist superstores, using a compelling blend of history, literary analysis, and cultural criticism to explore the rise of department stores and supermarkets in the United States, France, and Great Britain.

From the Inside Flap:

The curious history of shopping and our ideas about it, from the glamorous nineteenth-century department store to our own multi-functional supermarkets

Carried away or loaded down, love it or hate it, we take shopping for granted as one of the pleasures, or burdens, of our lives. Yet we are curiously unaware of how we became the consumers that we are.

In this witty and revelatory book, Rachel Bowlby looks at some of the turning points of twentieth-century consumer history: when department stores gave way to supermarkets; when packaging made everyday things into objects of desire; when self-service created a close, new relationship between shoppers and merchandise. Carried Away looks at arguments about chocolate boxes and bars of soap, at modernist shop windows and supermarket shelves, at Stepford Wives and Rupert Bears -- at the many extraordinary ways that modern shopping and shoppers have been imagined and invented.

Bowlby focuses in particular on the development of supermarkets, which started in the United States as accidental discount ventures in the 1930s before rapidly settling into the standard stores of suburban malls. But self-service did not have to be massive in scale. Between the two world wars, writers on retail speculated about a new hands-on intimacy between shoppers and goods in the small local store, with no clerk interfering. At the same time, packaging, which after World War II came to symbolize crudely exploitative mass marketing, was a field for modernist experiment, promising a simple, sophisticated aesthetic for all.

Carried Away delves into these and other forgotten histories of twentieth-century stores and their shoppers; after you have read it, theaisles of the local market will never seem quite the same.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780231122757: Carried Away

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0231122756 ISBN 13:  9780231122757
Publisher: Columbia University Press, 2002
Softcover

9780571193073: Carried Away: The Invention of Modern Shopping

Faber ..., 2000
Softcover

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Book Description Columbia University Press, United States, 2001. Hardback. Condition: New. New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Asserting that a history of shopping was, until recently, a history of women, Rachel Bowlby trains her eye on the evolution of the modern shopper. She uses a compelling blend of history, literary analysis, and cultural criticism to explore the rise of department stores and supermarkets of the United States, France, and Great Britain. Bowlby recalls the fascinating early days of these institutions. In the mid-nineteenth century, when department stores first developed, their fabulous new buildings brought middle-class women into town, where they could indulge in what was then a new activity: a day's shopping. The stores offered luxury, flattering women into believing that they belonged in a beautiful environment. It is here, Bowlby argues, that the idea of the modern woman's passion for fashion and shopping took hold. Developed in the twentieth century, supermarkets took an opposite tack: they offered functionality, standardization, and cheapness.However, Bowlby claims, despite their differences, the two institutions belong together as emblematic of their respective eras' social developments: the department store with the growth of cities, the supermarket with the proliferation of suburbs. With their dazzling lights and displays, both supermarkets and department stores were thought to produce in females an enhanced or trance-like state of mind. For readers who regard shopping as a spectator or participatory sport, and for those who wish to understand our culture and the psychology of women, or those who simply enjoy a witty, literate romp through the aisles, Carried Away is the perfect purchase. Seller Inventory # BTE9780231122740

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