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The politics of mass consumption in postwar America by Lizabeth Cohen, - Essay Example

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Explain how the consumer economy, society, and culture during the World War II era affected women and African Americans and how consumerism in the wartime years provided opportunities for both of these groups to claim greater social and political power as “citizen consumers…
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The politics of mass consumption in postwar America by Lizabeth Cohen,
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Download file to see previous pages Explain how the consumer economy, society, and culture during the World War II era affected women and African Americans and how consumerism in the wartime years provided opportunities for both of these groups to claim greater social and political power as “citizen consumers. Soon after the World War II, the American administration had adopted an effectuate strategy to reconstruct their economy by promoting and expanding mass consumption. Those who were at the helm of affairs took prosperity of Americans, as a central point of their plan. In their thoughts, the demand driven economy not only provide an opportunity for effective recovery but rekindled hopes in Americans for becoming part of an egalitarian society and to raise their heads being a true democratic nation. The idea of mass consumption provided American citizens to live in an ideal situation than before with equal footings with the neighbors (Cohen, 64). The above move was not accidental. It co relates with the historical era of 60s and 70s. At that time, the diversified segments of society comprised of African American origin, women, adults and the old citizens began to assess themselves within the ambit of identity politics. Here, the people’s affiliation with specific community defined their cultural awareness and motivation for a consolidated action. If we look back to the era of 60s, we find that those market managers, who failed to respond to the market demands in terms of innovative products, soon disappeared. Mr. Haley, Vice President and corporate researcher very rightly pointed out "it is easier to take advantage of market segments in vogue than to attempt to create new ones" (Cohen. 68) With the advent of new innovative deals and the ending of World War II, sizeable American Consumers got to know their rights as an individual consumer which was instrumental in promoting the generalized goods. In his book Cohen introduced mass consumption philosophy into four parts. In Part I, she elaborately discussed the "Origins of the Postwar Consumers' Republic,” concerning 30s and 40s era, when a concept of citizen consumer was coined that emanates from women and African-Americans. The said categories accept it a way of life. They consider it to be a safer and equitable market place. In the second part namely "The Birth of a Consumers' Republic," wherein she specifically discussed the role of Consumers? She hailed the patriotism of American nation since they fulfilled their obligations by promoting consumerism as a safe passage to economic equality and the political independence. Cohen identifies how consumer related policies helped the consumers to underwrite in terms of GI Bill and the tax code, which benefited the white middle class males segment greatly at the cost of discriminating other stakeholders with particular reference to women and the African Americans origin (Cohen, 85). She also discussed in her book the existing gap between the promise and the reality with regard to the rights of Consumer, instrumental to ignite civil rights movement. The increasing demand of blacks for public accommodation, stores, theaters and restaurants against the backdrop of black access to house themselves in public accommodation e.g. downtown stores, movie theaters, and restaurants can not be ignored. Above mentioned sites of consumption, overshadowed by the privatized new commercial avenues that comes to surface in suburban America. In part III entitled "The Landscape of Mass Consumption," Cohen apprised its readers that how the suburban America queued racial and income lines in accordance with the study of New Jersey State. For him suburban shopping malls not inclined to adopt the model of urban downtowns. In the last part of discussion that drives out from “The Political Culture of Mass Consumption," shows how the market trend and the national politics could effectively be dealt with the issues of reinforcement and simplification to cope with after war trends. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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