In this signal work of history, Bancroft Prize winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist Lizabeth Cohen shows how the pursuit of prosperity after World War II. In charting the complex legacy of our “Consumers’ Republic” Lizabeth Cohen has written a bold, encompassing, and profoundly influential. Review of Lizabeth Cohen’s A Consumers’ Republic. By politics | Published: August 10, The United States of the twentieth century has often been.

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Electrified by the shock of World War 2 and the In “A Consumer’s Republic,” Lizabeth Cohen tracks how America shifted during the mass production of World War 2 into a cohne based largely on consumerism as a road to prosperity.

A Consumer’s Republic deals with the underlying social and cultural formations that nurture the political and administrative policies that promote mass consumption.

The next section xohen the creation of the suburbs, and the home as the largest consumer purchase, and how individual’s owners concern with maintaining property values rightly or wrongly resulted in segregated neighborhoods. These sums in fact came back to me in the form of existential credit. This is a well-researched, clearly written, and fascinating book that I will come back to over and over again.

While these anecdotes are interesting, they detract from the work and fail to live up to the scope of the rest of the material. Consumerism was a weapon for blacks and women as consumers, but ultimately it reinforced economic stratification, patriarchy and fragmentation, making it all the more difficult to form worker solidarity post Contents The Emergence of the Cohenn Republic.

A Consumers’ Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America

In the early twentieth century, however, as suffrage waxed more universal and markets were flooded with goods made for the masses, citizenship took on a different meaning. New rituals of patriotic citizenship evolved-obeying OPA price, rent, and rationing lizabety and reporting violators; participating in recycling, scrap, and waste fat drives; planting Victory Gardens [.

Book titles OR Journal titles. Lists with This Book. Americans began to fulfill their citizenship duties by embracing mass consumption as the route to economic equality and political freedom.

A Consumers’ Republic

Knopf, pp. Trumpeted as a means to promote the general welfare, mass consumption quickly outgrew its economic objectives and became synonymous with patriotism, social equality, and the American Dream. The politics comes in when the author shows how the targeted advertising of the segmentalized marketplace after the s bled over into the way political parties target certain demographic blocks with different messages to sell their product, the politicians.


A few times I even wanted to put the book down and pick up a less academic book – perhaps some fiction – to give my eyes and brain a break. They also drained money out of cities, which had hugely negative consequences for urban education and business. Bill of Rights and the new income tax codes were used in order to establish the economic and cultural hegemony of white heterosexual male homeowners. The incredible amount of research and well thought out and supported thesis’ are worth five stars, but the writing brings it down to four stars.

Beginning in Part II, “The Birth of a Consumers’ Republic,” Cohen documents how the citizen consumer’s “nemesis,” the “purchaser as citizen,” rose to prominence as the basis of what she calls the Consumers’ Republic. This is a great resource to use for the topic of mass consumption in post-war America perhaps the best source for this topic but very little of this will be surprising to students of American history.

Trivia About A Consumers’ Repu Listened to Lee Eisenberg on Diane Rehm show discuss his book, but he also mentioned this one, which sounded more interesting to me. Consumers could leverage their buying power into gaining regulations to protect their safety such as FDA standards or by organizing boycotts and sit-ins to achieve equal access for minorities. Marketers capitalized on racial and class differences by segmenting consumers and promoting goods that reinforced the differentiation of social groups.

She then talks about the rise of consumer markets and how marketing changed over time as it became more and more about reaching individuals segments, with the marketers getting more scientific in their approaches by utilizing sociology, anthropology, etc. May 29, Tim rated it it was amazing.

Especially in her section on the movement of w Excellent analysis of the post-war economy that was fueled by consumerism. These various foci are woven together masterfully, yet they form clear subdivisions within chapters, permitting students to quickly focus on their particular interests. In a series of essay-like chapters, A Consumer’s Republic republkc that the decades following World War II witnessed a fundamental transformation, as American economics, politics, and society revolved around the pursuit of private prosperity and the expansion of consumption.

My only criticism is that while she discusses the ways in which the Consumer’s Republic discriminates against African Americans, she does very little in terms of discussing how it affects other minorities. This is an important book to understand how we got to where we are at this point in time in this country.


Cohen is acutely sensitive to social inequities based on race, class, and gender, and her attention to those matters is the book’s strength. In fact this book is more a collection of journal articles writt Interesting take on American history from the ‘s forward that focuses on the role or you could say rule of the consumer rather than the voter or workerarguing that they became the controlling influence, and sometimes even the controlling power in American society.

Such grassroots practices worked well in tandem with the dominant economic policy, taken from Keynes, which held that government intervention was necessary in order to motivate massive demand and revive the general economy Women fought for the right to have their own bank accounts and lines of credit in addition to equal wages; blacks labored for just prices in stores as well as unhindered access to the vote.

Project MUSE – A Consumers’ Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption (review)

A very exhaustive, well researched history of America’s post war consumer explosion. The depiction of political, cultural landscape is indeed captivating. She largely views the postwar cohsumers, however, as defined by a broad consensus among business, labor, and policymakers.

Built on the Johns Hopkins University Campus. Ironically, then, instead of having to rigorously police boundaries in the old city because blacks and whites actually share public space, the lack of a consumeds sphere in postwar mass suburbia allows the fantasy of equal access.

Cohen’s prose is dry and academic, so if you’re a history buff who can handle that sort of thing, this book is a fantastic analysis of the changes to American culture in the years after WW2.

Cohen contends that the suburbs allowed people to live out a dream of prosperity, easy consumption, and independence, but at a cost. Lifestyles republiv changed as cars became common.

Built coehn the Thematic Theme Framework. Cohen examines how African Americans were often discriminated against in housing developments and shops, and how many of them were able to leverage their buying power to achieve significant headway in the civil rights arena.