Purchasing Power: Women and the Rise of Canadian Consumer Culture

By Donica Belisle

© 2020

Exploring the roots of Canadian consumer culture between the 1890s and the Second World War, Purchasing Power uncovers the meanings that Canadians have attached to consumer goods. Offering a new perspective on the temperance, conservation, home economics, feminist, and co-operative movements of this period, this book brings women’s consumer interests to the fore. Due to their exclusion from formal politics and most paid employment, many Canadian women leveraged their consumer roles into personal and social opportunities. In the consumer sphere, they sought solutions for their isolation, their desire for upward mobility and personal expression, and their families’ survival. Through their purchasing power, Canadian women transformed consumer culture into an arena of political engagement.

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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Gender and History
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Illustrations: 14
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.9in x 9.0in
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SKU# SP004294

  • PUBLISHED MAR 2020

    From: $22.46

    Regular Price: $29.95

    ISBN 9781442629110
  • PUBLISHED MAR 2020

    From: $63.75

    Regular Price: $85.00

    ISBN 9781442631137
  • PUBLISHED APR 2020

    From: $22.46

    Regular Price: $29.95

Quick Overview

Why do Canadians consume? This book explores the meanings of consumption in early-twentieth-century Canada, demonstrating that many Canadians have long viewed consumer goods as central to their visions of belonging, identity, and citizenship.

Purchasing Power: Women and the Rise of Canadian Consumer Culture

By Donica Belisle

© 2020

Exploring the roots of Canadian consumer culture between the 1890s and the Second World War, Purchasing Power uncovers the meanings that Canadians have attached to consumer goods. Offering a new perspective on the temperance, conservation, home economics, feminist, and co-operative movements of this period, this book brings women’s consumer interests to the fore. Due to their exclusion from formal politics and most paid employment, many Canadian women leveraged their consumer roles into personal and social opportunities. In the consumer sphere, they sought solutions for their isolation, their desire for upward mobility and personal expression, and their families’ survival. Through their purchasing power, Canadian women transformed consumer culture into an arena of political engagement.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Gender and History
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Illustrations: 14
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.9in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    "Drawing on rich archival research, Donica Belisle has written a fascinating consumer history of Canada, focusing on women’s contributions before the Second World War. This well-written study explores the links between citizenship and consumption, detailing the ways that white British practices were normalized as 'Canadian' and the role that women played in the formation of white Canadian nationalism in the early twentieth century."


    Vicki Howard, Department of History, University of Essex

    "Today, the term 'pro-sumer' denotes 'a consumer who becomes involved with designing or customizing products for their own needs.' This study of women considers the forms of political consumerism in which they engaged and reveals the political values they held."


    Anne Burke
    The Prairie Journal of Canadian Literature

    “Many white Canadian women between the 1890s and 1930s deployed notions of consumer taste to solidify their own privilege. This book helps us appreciate why consumption continues to compel so many women now, even in the face of mounting evidence of its destructiveness.”
    Tracey Deutsch, Department of History and the Imagine Chair in Arts, Design, and Humanities, University of Minnesota
  • Author Information

    Donica Belisle is an associate professor in the Department of History at the University of Regina.
  • Table of contents

    List of Illustrations
    Acknowledgments

    Introduction: Consumer Culture in Historical Perspective

    1. Temperance and the Rise of Sober Consumer Culture
    2. Shopping for Victory: Consumer Citizenship in Wartime
    3. Home Economics and the Training of the Consumer Citizenry
    4. Rural Consumer Citizens: Consumption in the Countryside
    5. For Whom Do We Dress? Feminism and Fashion
    6. Challenging Capitalism? The Limits of Collective Buying

    Conclusion: Empowerment and Exclusion: Consumption in Canadian History

    Notes
    Bibliography
    Index

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