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Consumer Culture and the Making of Modern Jewish Identity


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  • Date Published: August 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107011304

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About the Authors
  • Antisemitic stereotypes of Jews as capitalists have hindered research into the economic dimension of the Jewish past. The figure of the Jew as trader and financier dominated the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. But the economy has been central to Jewish life and the Jewish image in the world; Jews not only made money but spent money. This book is the first to investigate the intersection between consumption, identity, and Jewish history in Europe. It aims to examine the role and place of consumption within Jewish society and the ways consumerism generated and reinforced Jewish notions of belonging from the end of the eighteenth century to the beginning of the new millennium. It shows how the advances of modernization and secularization in the modern period increased the importance of consumption in Jewish life, making it a significant factor in the process of redefining Jewish identity.

    • Suggests a new perspective of Jewish history, which will appeal to those interested in Jewish history and minority cultures in general
    • Looks at Jews not only as money-makers but as money-spenders, encouraging readers to reflect on the complexity of Jewish experiences
    • Puts the marketplace at the centre of Jewish experience, endorsing a cultural approach to economic activities
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    • Winner, 2017 Dorot Foundation Award for Modern Jewish Thought and Experience, Jewish Book Council

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Moving beyond the stereotypes, this brilliant, wide-ranging, innovative, meticulously researched and very readable history of how Jews were targeted as consumers and Jewish consumer practices sheds new light on Jews' relation to modernity. Reuveni takes the reader from Europe to the United States and Israel, showing how buying, or refusing to buy, goods had political, social and cultural consequences.' Leora Auslander, University of Chicago

    'In this pioneering book Gideon Reuveni rereads the history of Jewish life in Weimar Germany from the fresh perspective of consumerism, with an eye toward how daily habits of getting, spending, eating and furnishing were inseparable from larger questions of belonging, integration and exclusion amid the tumultuous conditions of interwar Germany.' Paul Betts, St Anthony's College, Oxford

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107011304
    • length: 280 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 160 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.52kg
    • contains: 32 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Narratives of Belonging:
    1. Producers, consumers, Jews and antisemitism in German historiography
    2. Ethnic marketing and consumer ambivalence in Weimar Germany
    3. The Jewish question and the changing regimes of consumption
    4. What makes a Jew happy? Longings, belongings and the spirit of modern consumerism
    Part II. The Politics of Jewish Consumption:
    5. Emancipation through consumption
    6. Boycott, economic rationality and Jewish consumers in interwar Germany
    7. Advertising national belonging
    8. The consumption of Jewish politics
    Part III. Homo Judaicus Consumerus:
    9. The cost of being Jewish
    10. Place and space of Jewish consumption
    11. The world of Jewish goods
    12. Spending power and its discontents
    13. Beyond consumerism: the bridge, the door and the cultural economy approach to Jewish history.

  • Author

    Gideon Reuveni, University of Sussex
    Gideon Reuveni is Reader in History and Director of the Centre for German-Jewish studies at the University of Sussex. His central research and teaching interest is the cultural and social history of modern European and Jewish history.


    • Winner, 2017 Dorot Foundation Award for Modern Jewish Thought and Experience, Jewish Book Council

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