The sum of small things : a theory of the aspirational class

Title
The sum of small things : a theory of the aspirational class / Elizabeth Currid-Halkett.
Author
Currid-Halkett, Elizabeth, 1978-
Publication
Princeton : Princeton University Press, 2017.

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TextUse in libraryRequestJBE 17-497Schwarzman Building M2 - General Research Room 315

Details

Description
pages cm
Bibliography (note)
  • Includes bibliographical references and index.
Call Number
JBE 17-497
ISBN
  • 9780691162737
  • 0691162735
LCCN
2016040562
Author
Currid-Halkett, Elizabeth, 1978- author.
Title
The sum of small things : a theory of the aspirational class / Elizabeth Currid-Halkett.
Publisher
Princeton : Princeton University Press, 2017.
Edition
Edition: Elizabeth Currid-Halkett.
Type of Content
text
Type of Medium
unmediated
Type of Carrier
volume
Summary
" In today's world, the leisure class has been replaced by a new elite. Highly educated and defined by cultural capital rather than income bracket, these individuals earnestly buy organic, carry NPR tote bags, and breast-feed their babies. They care about discreet, inconspicuous consumption--like eating free-range chicken and heirloom tomatoes, wearing organic cotton shirts and TOMS shoes, and listening to the Serial podcast. They use their purchasing power to hire nannies and housekeepers, to cultivate their children's growth, and to practice yoga and Pilates. In The Sum of Small Things, Elizabeth Currid-Halkett dubs this segment of society "the aspirational class" and discusses how, through deft decisions about education, health, parenting, and retirement, the aspirational class reproduces wealth and upward mobility, deepening the ever-wider class divide. Exploring the rise of the aspirational class, Currid-Halkett considers how much has changed since the 1899 publication of Thorstein Veblen's Theory of the Leisure Class. In that inflammatory classic, which coined the phrase "conspicuous consumption," Veblen described upper-class frivolities: men who used walking sticks for show, and women who bought silver flatware despite the effectiveness of cheaper aluminum utensils. Now, Currid-Halkett argues, the power of material goods as symbols of social position has diminished due to their accessibility. As a result, the aspirational class has altered its consumer habits away from overt materialism to more subtle expenditures that reveal status and knowledge. And these transformations influence how we all make choices. With a rich narrative and extensive interviews and research, The Sum of Small Things illustrates how cultural capital leads to lifestyle shifts and what this forecasts, not just for the aspirational class but for everyone. "-- Provided by publisher.
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Research Call Number
JBE 17-497
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