<p>Suburban living rooms, 1950s tail fins, and Hollywood celebrities: in such examples of popular and material culture, McCracken (cultural anthropologist, author of Culture and Consumption, CH, Jul'88) finds provocative evidence for what North Americans value. This highly readable volume pairs informal essays with scholarly articles, all providing rich anthropological perspectives on the material elements of everyday life and how people build their identities, experiences, and relationships through them. People turn houses into homes by sheltering themselves with concentric rings of intimacy made of meaningful objects. They select and reject from marketplace offerings according to their notions of self and family. McCracken's meaning management concept usefully explores how advertisers, marketers, and celebrity endorsers compete as meaning makers who capture cultural meanings and attach them to products. His heated attacks on elitist critiques of consumer culture are lively but dated; half the chapters are reprinted, three from the 1980s. Few scholars still disdain popular and material culture as McCracken's targets once did. However, many do challenge assertions like his that the world of goods has become successfully democratized. Nonetheless, this collection of insights and arguments will serve general audiences, marketers, and students looking for fruitful ways of assessing consumer culture. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers; students, lower--division undergraduate and up; and professionals.P. W./P>--P. W. Laird, University of Colorado at Denver"Choice" (01/01/2006)
About the Author
Grant McCracken is a member of The MIT Laboratory for Branding Cultures and a visiting scholar at McGill University and author of several books, including Culture and Consumption (IUP, 1988), Big Hair, and Transformation.