Women and Mass Consumer Society in Postwar France examines the emergence of a citizen consumer role for women during postwar modernization and reconstruction in France, integrating the history of economic modernization with that of women and the family. This role both celebrated the power of the woman consumer and created a gendered form of citizenship that did not disrupt the sexual hierarchy of home, polity and marketplace. Redefining needs and renegotiating concepts of taste, value and thrift, women and their families drove mass consumer society through their demands and purchases at the same time that their very need to consume came to define them.
Rebecca J. Pulju is an assistant professor of history at Kent State University in Ohio. Her work has been published in the Journal of Women's History and the Proceedings of the Western Society for French History. Professor Pulju's research has been supported by funding from the University of Iowa and Kent State University, as well as a travel grant from the Society for French Historical Studies and the Western Society for French History.
Introduction; 1. Consumers for the nation: women, politics, and citizenship; 2. The productivity drive in the home and gaining comfort on credit; 3. For better and for worse: marriage and family in the consumer society; 4. 'Can a man with a refrigerator make a revolution?': redefining class in the postwar years; 5. The salon des arts menagers: learning to consume in postwar France; Epilogue.