Vol. 7, No. 1, December 2005

Books of Note

Ertman, Martha and Joan C. Williams. 2005. Rethinking Commodification: Cases and Readings. NYU Press, August 2005.
This collection is a great review of past theoretical arguments against commodification. It then moves on to a contemporary reevaluation of commodification in terms of diversity, context, and personal relations.

Gronow, Jukka. 2003. Caviar with Champagne: Common Luxury and the Ideals of Good Life in Stalin's Russia Oxford: Berg, 2003. The book is dedicated to a subject that may sound like an oxymoron: mass production of luxuries in Stalin's pre-war Russia.

Leiss, William, Stephen Kline, Sut Jhally and Jacqueline Botterill (eds.). 2005. Social Communication in Advertising: Consumption in the Modern Marketplace (3rd edition). Substantially revised and updated and nearing classic status in some circles, this book offers historical, conceptual and empirical material suitable for undergraduate and graduate courses as well as for scholarly consultation.

Manning, Robert D. 2005 Living With Debt: A Life Stage Analysis of Changing Attitudes and Behaviors. This report, which was commissioned by Lending Tree, examines how attitudes and behaviors related to consumer debt have changed between generations, and also how these attitudes and behaviors progress throughout the various stages of adult life. The full report, as well as the executive summary of highlights, can be downloaded at http://www.lendingtree.com/livingwithdebt.

Miller, Daniel (ed). 2005. Materiality. Duke University Press. An edited collection of diverse empirical and theoretical work which seeks to situate studies of material culture within larger conceptualizations of culture.

Rivoli. Pietra. 2005. The Travels of a T-shirt in the Global Economy. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons. The author uses the life cycle of a t-shirt--from the Texas cotton farm, to the shirt factory in China, to the market for recycled goods in Zambia--to illuminate the economics and politics of globalization. The book was recently named a finalist for the inaugural Financial Times/Goldman Sachs business book of the year award.

Sammond, Nicholas. 2005. Babes in Tomorrowland: Walt Disney and the American Child, 1930-1960. Duke University Press. An examination of how Walt Disney and his company, specifically, and media and consumption generally relied upon extant notions of the "normal child" arising from developmental psychology and actively forged and deployed representations of this child for commercial and cultural ends.

Seiter, Ellen. 2005. The Internet Playground. Peter Lang. An ethnographically-based look into how race, class and ethnicity informs the use of computers and the internet of children aged 8-12 in Southern California.

Van Proyen, Mark and Lee Gilmore (eds.). 2005. After Burn: Reflections on Burning Man. 2005. University of New Mexico Press. This anthology's essays examine several aspects of Burning Man, the annual temporary community of 35,500 people known for its counterculture and interactive art, utopian gift economy, emphasis on participation, and rejection of passive consumption.

Williams, Christine. 2006. Inside Toyland: Working, Shopping and Social Inequality. University of California Press.
An ethnographic exploration inside the world of toy retailing where the relationships between buying and selling, gender and class and race and inequality play themselves out on the retail floor of toys stores.

Zelizer, Viviana. 2005. The Purchase of Intimacy. Princeton University Press. An in-depth examination of the tensions, overlaps and interconnections between market and emotional values in history, law and everyday action.