Cloth $35.00 ISBN: 9780226121277 Published September 2014
E-book $21.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226147383 Published September 2014

Packaged Pleasures

How Technology and Marketing Revolutionized Desire

Gary S. Cross and Robert N. Proctor

Gary S. Cross and Robert N. Proctor

336 pages | 37 halftones, 5 line drawings, 1 table | 6 x 9 | © 2014
Cloth $35.00 ISBN: 9780226121277 Published September 2014
E-book $21.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226147383 Published September 2014
From the candy bar to the cigarette, records to roller coasters, a technological revolution during the last quarter of the nineteenth century precipitated a colossal shift in human consumption and sensual experience.  Food, drink, and many other consumer goods came to be mass-produced, bottled, canned, condensed, and distilled, unleashing new and intensified surges of pleasure, delight, thrill—and addiction.

In Packaged Pleasures, Gary S. Cross and Robert N. Proctor delve into an uncharted chapter of American history, shedding new light on the origins of modern consumer culture and how technologies have transformed human sensory experience.  In the space of only a few decades, junk foods, cigarettes, movies, recorded sound, and thrill rides brought about a revolution in what it means to taste, smell, see, hear, and touch.  New techniques of boxing, labeling, and tubing gave consumers virtually unlimited access to pleasures they could simply unwrap and enjoy. Manufacturers generated a seemingly endless stream of sugar-filled, high-fat foods that were delicious but detrimental to health.  Mechanically rolled cigarettes entered the market and quickly addicted millions.  And many other packaged pleasures dulled or displaced natural and social delights. Yet many of these same new technologies also offered convenient and effective medicines, unprecedented opportunities to enjoy music and the visual arts, and more hygienic, varied, and nutritious food and drink. For better or for worse, sensation became mechanized, commercialized, and, to a large extent, democratized by being made cheap and accessible. Cross and Proctor have delivered an ingeniously constructed history of consumerism and consumer technology that will make us all rethink some of our favorite things.
Peter N. Stearns, author of The Industrial Revolution in World History
“This book persuasively addresses one of the key questions in modern history: how human experience has been reshaped by mass marketing. It includes but goes beyond attention to advertising, to a fascinating exploration of technology’s impact on products and packaging, and how the result has transformed sensory response. A groundbreaking effort.”
Hartmut Berghoff, director of the German Historical Institute
“Well argued, stimulating, captivating. Packaged Pleasures unwraps the secrets of modern consumer societies!”
Martin Daunton | University of Cambridge
“When pleasure was linked with scarcity, we could not over-indulge and satiate ourselves.  The emergence of industrialised, packaged pleasures—whether  recorded music or confectionery—allows gratification to conquer constraints, putting us on a treadmill of desire and addiction.  Are we happier or merely over-loaded with desire; should we abandon instant gratification for something slower and more contemplative?  Gary Cross and Robert Proctor ask fundamental questions about our health and well-being in a world of packaged pleasures.  Their book is essential reading for anyone interested in questions of public health, the regulation of the food industry, and the shaping of economic policy.”
Matthew Hilton | University of Birmingham
Packaged Pleasures is a wonderfully evocative account of how technology has changed the way we enjoy the world around us. Through a series of superb case studies, Cross and Proctor show how the way we see, hear, taste, and feel has been transformed by the mass production of cheap luxuries. In doing so they raise challenging questions about the effects of modern industrial capitalism and what we do to ourselves as consumers. The opportunities for pleasure and enjoyment could not be greater, but does this make us any happier?”
Gerald Markowitz, coauthor of Lead Wars: The Politics of Science and the Fate of America’s Children
“What makes Cross and Proctor’s book both unique and extremely useful is its examination of a cross section of areas that are rarely, if ever, addressed in combination. There is a rich literature on food, cigarettes, motion pictures, the recording industry, and photography, but this is the first in-depth examination of these ‘packaged pleasures’ in combination so that we can see the interconnections and relationships among these mainstays of consumer culture. The book also brilliantly demonstrates the ways that the rise of corporate capitalism fundamentally transformed these separate spheres in very similar ways.”
Iain Boal, Guggenheim Fellow in Science and Technology
“Highly original and fascinating tour of the commodity world, especially its ubiquitous but underexamined delivery systems. This book is itself a packaged pleasure, but make no mistake,  it contains health warnings that, if heeded, would save untold lives.”
Contents
1. The Carrot and the Candy Bar
2. Containing Civilization, Preserving the Ephemeral, Going Tubular
3. The Cigarette Story
4. Superfoods and the Engineered Origins of the Modern Sweet Tooth
5. Portable Packets of Sound: The Birth of the Phonograph and Record
6. Packaging Sight: Projections, Snapshots, and Motion Pictures
7. Packaging Fantasy: The Amusement Park as Mechanized Circus, Electric Theater, and Commercialized Spectacle
8. Pleasure on Speed and the Calibrated Life: Fast Forwarding through the Last Century
9. Red Raspberries All the Time?
 
Notes
Index
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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