The Ambivalent Consumer: Questioning Consumption in East Asia and the West

 
The Ambivalent Consumer: Questioning Consumption in East Asia and the West Edited by Sheldon Garon and Patricia L. Maclachlan
Editor: 
Patricia L. Maclachlan
Published: 
July, 2006
ISBN: 
978-0801473029
Publisher: 
Cornell University Press

In The Ambivalent Consumer, Sheldon Garon and Patricia L. Maclachlan bring together an array of scholars who explore the ambivalence provoked, especially in East and Southeast Asia, by the global spread of "American" consumer culture. As the world's second-largest economy, Japan has long engaged in a vibrant consumerism tempered by deeply held beliefs about morality, thrift, community, and national identity. Its neighbors in East and Southeast Asia-South Korea, China, Malaysia, and Singapore-have likewise anxiously balanced consumption and saving.

The first comparative volume to examine global phenomena of consumer culture from the perspective of East Asia, this book analyzes not only the attractions of mass consumption but also the many discontents and dilemmas that arise from consumerism. Placing Japan and the United States in a transnational context, the book's contributors find that European countries more closely resemble Japan than they do the United States in their saving rates, consumption levels, environmental concerns, and discomfort with consumer credit.

The Ambivalent Consumer offers a useful perspective on the political economies of consumption to address such pressing topics as movements against genetically modified foods; shifting relations among consumers, producers, and states; the differential influence of gender on consumption; and conflicting consumer attitudes toward globalization.

Area of Interest: 
Consumer History
Economic History
Period: 
20th Century
21st Century
Region: 
Asia
Europe
United States