Coronavirus (Covid-19): Latest updates and information
Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Week Nine - The Politics of Low Culture: Consumerism and its Discontents

- What did anti-Americanisation campaigns reveal about European cultural norms?

- Was socialist consumerism a contradiction in terms?

'[I]n reality, the process which Europeans dread as "Americanization" is the emergence of the modern world with all its perplexities and implications.' (Hannan Arendt)

Core texts

Kuisel, Richard F., Seducing the French: The Dilemma of Americanization (Berkeley: UCALP, 1993), esp. chs. 3 & 5. DC.33.7.K8
Reid, Susan E., and Crowley, David (eds.), Style and Socialism: Modernity and Material Culture in Post-War Eastern Europe (Oxford: Berg, 2000). PM (handouts)


Barthes, Roland, Mythologies (1957). H.6600.B2
Baudrillard, Jean, The Consumer Society: Myths and Structures (1970). HC.9000.B2
Buchli, Victor, An Archaeology of Socialism (Oxford: Berg, 1999). NA.1188.5.C64
Crew, David, Consuming Germany in the Cold War (Oxford: Berg, 2003). o/o
Daunton, Martin and Matthew Hilton (eds.), The Politics of Consumption: Material Culture and Citizenship in Europe and America (Oxford: Berg, 2001). HS.1000.P6
Friedan, Betty, The Feminine Mystique (1963). HC.8700.F7
Hixson, Walter L., Parting the Curtain: Propaganda, Culture and the Cold War, 1945-1961 (Houndmills: Macmillan, 1997).
Horkheimer, Max and Theodor Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment (London: Verso, 1997). B3279.H8473
Kuisel, Richard F., Seducing the French: The Dilemma of Americanization (Berkeley: UCALP, 1993). DC.33.7.K8
Lacorne, Denis et al. (eds.), The Rise and Fall of Anti-Americanism: A Century of French Perception (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1990). DC.59.8.U6
May, Elaine Tyler, Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era (New York: Basic, 1988). HC.8061.M2
Packard, Vance, The Hidden Persuaders (1957). HO.6210.P2
Pence, Katherine, ‘Labours of Consumption: Gendered Consumers in Post-War East and West German Reconstruction’, in: Lynn Abrams/Elizabeth Harvey (eds.), Gender Relations in German History (London: UCL Press, 1996), 211-38. HC.8723.G3
Pendergrast, Mark, For God, Country and Coca-Cola: The Unauthorized History of the World’s Most Popular Soft Drink and the Company that Makes It (London: Phoenix, 1993). HP.6119.P7
Ross, Kristin, Fast Cars, Clean Bodies: Decolonization and the Reordering of French Culture (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1995). DC.33.7.R6
Schissler, Hanna (ed.), The Miracle Years: A Cultural History of West Germany, 1949-1968 (Princeton: PUP, 2001). DD67.M4
Wagnleitner, Reinhold, Coca-Colonization and the Cold War: The Cultural Mission of the United States in Austria after the Second World War (Chapel Hill: UNCP, 1994). DB.99.1.W2
Zatlin, Jonathan, ‘The Vehicle of Desire: The Trabant, the Wartburg, and the End of the GDR’, German History, 15 (1997), 358-80.