Marianne in the Market: Envisioning Consumer Society in Fin-de-Siecle
Lisa TierstenISBN: 0520225295; 9780520225299;
In the late nineteenth century, controversy over the social ramifications of the emerging consumer marketplace beset the industrialized nations of the West. In France, various commentators expressed concern that rampant commercialization threatened the republican ideal of civic-mindedness as well as the French reputation for good taste. The female bourgeois consumer was a particularly charged figure because she represented consumption run amok. Critics feared that the marketplace compromised her morality and aesthetic discernment, with dire repercussions for domestic life and public order. Marianne in the Market traces debates about the woman consumer to examine the complex encounter between the market and the republic in nineteenth-century France. It explores how agents of capitalism -- advertisers, department store managers, fashion journalists, self-styled taste experts -- addressed fears of consumerism through the forging of an aesthetics of the marketplace: a "marketplace...