Buying Happiness

The Emergence of Consumer Consciousness in English Canada

Bettina Liverant

  • Published: 2018. Paperback December 2018
  • Subject Listing: History / Canadian History
  • Bibliographic information: 288 pp., 10 bandw illus., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: US rights only
  • Distributed for: UBC Press
  • Contents

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.
Bettina Liverant is adjunct assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of Calgary.

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