Off the Shelf: Allison Pugh

March 13, 2009 — Allison Pugh, assistant professor of sociology. "Longing and Belonging: Parents, Children, and Consumer Culture." University of California Press.

From the publisher:
Even as they see their wages go down and their buying power decrease, many parents are still putting their kids' material desires first. These parents struggle with how to handle children's consumer wants, which continue unabated despite the economic downturn. And, indeed, parents and other adults continue to spend billions of dollars on children every year. Why do children seem to desire so much, so often, so soon, and why do parents capitulate so readily?

To determine what forces lie behind the onslaught of Nintendo Wiis and Bratz dolls, Allison J. Pugh spent three years observing and interviewing children and their families.

Tying shoelaces, jumping rope, listening to circle-time stories, Allison Pugh immersed herself in the busy — and commercial-studded — worlds of schoolchildren. In this brilliantly argued, lyrically written and riveting book, Pugh asks how kids cope with the incessant ads for the must-have toy, the latest shoe, the coolest game.