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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Buying Happiness

The Emergence of Consumer Consciousness in English Canada

The idea of Canada as a consumer society was largely absent before 1890 but familiar by the mid-1960s. This change required more than rising incomes and greater impulses to buy; it involved the creation of new concepts. Buying Happiness explores the ways that key public thinkers represented, conceptualized, and institutionalized new ideas about consumption. Liverant’s fresh approach connects the emergence and diffusion of these ideas with changes in political processes and social policy. As the figure of “the consumer” moved from the margins to the centre of social, cultural, and political analysis, the values and concepts associated with consumerism were woven into the Canadian social imagination.

304 pages

Table of Contents


1 The Meaning Is in the Spending

2 The Promise of a More Abundant Life

3 Culturing Canadian Patriotism

4 Moralizing the Economy

5 Charting the Contours of Modern Society

6 Regulating the Consumer

7 Buying Happiness

8 Academic Encounters


Notes; Index

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