Faculty Book: Sharon Zukin
Point of Purchase: How Shopping Changed American Culture
(Routledge, 2004; 325 pp.)
"The social spaces and cultural labels of shopping offer us hope of achieving the American Dream: low prices define our concept of democracy. Brand names represent our search for a better life. Designer boutiques embody the promise of an ever-improving self," writes Sharon Zukin in her introduction. In Point of Purchase, she traces the incredible phenomenon of shopping and how it became central to American life—from the mid-nineteenth century to today, from the grand department stores to internet shopping and Zagat's guides. Unlike many social critics, Zukin doesn't condemn shoppers, but rather argues that shopping has become so important in our daily lives because it is one of the few means we have left for creating value that was once provided by religions, politics, or work. She is a professor of psychology and sociology at Brooklyn College and The Graduate Center.
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Submitted on: OCT 16, 2004