Consumerism Essay

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Stages of Consumerism: Recent Work on the Issues of Periodization Author(s): Peter N. Stearns Source: The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 69, No. 1 (Mar., 1997), pp. 102-117 Published by: The University of Chicago Press Stable URL: . Accessed: 08/12/2014 19:31 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact . The University of Chicago Press is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The Journal of Modern History. This content downloaded from on Mon, 8 Dec 2014 19:31:24 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions ReviewArticle Stages of Consumerism:Recent Work on the Issues of Periodization Peter N. Steams Carnegie Mellon University Studies of consumerist behavior have had a somewhat checkered history, partly because the topic itself has long struggled for respectability. Many historians still regard consumer behavior as one of those frivolous or self-evident features of modern society that do not merit historical attention. This helps account for the rather sporadic pattern of research that has prevailed until recent years; in the United States, a very promising surge in the early 1980s was simply left hanging for almost a decade. There is also an ongoing dispute about how best to study the phenomenon: many historians approach the topic from the standpoint of external manifestations such as

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