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Keeping up With the Joneses : Envy in American Consumer Society, 1890-1930

Keeping up With the Joneses : Envy in American Consumer Society, 1890-1930 - 02 edition

Keeping up With the Joneses : Envy in American Consumer Society, 1890-1930 - 02 edition

ISBN13: 9780812236866

ISBN10: 0812236866

Keeping up With the Joneses : Envy in American Consumer Society, 1890-1930 by Susan J. Matt - ISBN 9780812236866
Cover type: Hardback
Edition: 02
Copyright: 2002
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: 2002
International: No
Keeping up With the Joneses : Envy in American Consumer Society, 1890-1930 by Susan J. Matt - ISBN 9780812236866

ISBN13: 9780812236866

ISBN10: 0812236866

Cover type: Hardback
Edition: 02

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Summary

Keeping Up with the Joneses traces how attitudes about envy changed as department stores, mail-order catalogs, magazines, movies, and advertising became more prevalent, and the mass production of imitation luxury goods offered middle- and working-class individuals the opportunity to emulate the upper-class life. Between 1890 and 1910 moralists sought to tame envy and emulation in order to uphold a moral economy and preserve social order. They criticized the liberal-capitalist preoccupation with personal striving and advancement and praised the virtue of contentment. They admonished the bourgeoisie to be satisfied with their circumstances and cease yearning for their neighbors' possessions. After 1910 more secular commentators gained ground, repudiating the doctrine of contentment and rejecting the notion that there were divinely ordained limits on what each class should possess. They encouraged everyone to pursue the objects of desire. Envy was no longer a sin but a valuable economic stimulant.

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