Shopping and the American Dream

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photoScoring that elusive Hokey Pokey Elmo. Buying Italian leather boots on the final markdown. Shopping today is so much more than just buying. It's about pleasure, truth, beauty, and perfection, says sociologist Sharon Zukin. Zukin has scoured the mega- malls, strolled the open-air markets. She has loaded up her cart and listened to consumers. Her conclusion: Americans now, to a remarkable degree, find and define themselves through shopping. .

Does shopping define you? Beyond simple need, what leads you to shop? Do you seek fulfillment at your favorite pastoral farm stand? Dignity at Brooks Brothers? Democracy at Wall Mart?


Sharon Zukin, professor of sociology at the City University of New York Graduate Center and at Brooklyn College, where she holds an endowed chair. Her newest book is "Point of Purchase: How Shopping Changed American Culture." She is also author of "The Culture of the Cities."

This program aired on December 12, 2003.


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