Cover for BENSON: Counter Cultures: Saleswomen, Managers, and Customers in American Department Stores, 1890-1940. Click for larger image

Counter Cultures

Saleswomen, Managers, and Customers in American Department Stores, 1890-1940
Awards and Recognition:

Winner of the Chicago Women in Publishing Award, "Relevance to Women's Issues," 1987.

The classic study of work, consumerism, and gender relations

The luxurious appearance and handsome profits of American department stores from 1890 to 1940 masked a three-way struggle among saleswomen, managers, and customers for control of the selling floor. Counter Cultures explores the complex nature and contradictions of the conflict in an arena where class, gender, and the emerging culture of consumption all came together. The result is a fascinating illumination of the emotional labor of the workplace and the work-culture of consumerism that still defines the workday for millions of Americans.

"A path-breaking and imaginative social history. Benson has made an original and sophisticated contribution to the study of the work process in the service sector."--Journal of American History

"Advances our understanding of the history of women and work, and it does so in an engaging way that should command the attention not only of historians, but of a general readership as well."--Women's Review of Books


Susan Porter Benson (d. 2005) taught at the University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Connecticut, and Yale University. She is the author of Household Accounts: Working-class Family Economies in the Interwar United States

To order online:
//www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/43kzt8qw9780252060137.html

To order by phone:
(800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada)
(773) 702-7000 (International)

Related Titles

previous book next book
Subject to Reality - Cover
Subject to Reality

Women and Documentary Film

Shilyh Warren

Dressed for Freedom - Cover
Dressed for Freedom

The Fashionable Politics of American Feminism

Einav Rabinovitch-Fox

Before March Madness - Cover
Before March Madness

The Wars for the Soul of College Basketball

Kurt Edward Kemper

Front Pages, Front Lines - Cover
Front Pages, Front Lines

Media and the Fight for Women's Suffrage

Edited by Linda Steiner, Carolyn Kitch, and Brooke Kroeger

Labor’s Mind - Cover
Labor’s Mind

A History of Working-Class Intellectual Life

Tobias Higbie

Madam C. J. Walker’s Gospel of Giving - Cover
Madam C. J. Walker’s Gospel of Giving

Black Women’s Philanthropy during Jim Crow

Tyrone McKinley Freeman

All Our Trials - Cover
All Our Trials

Prisons, Policing, and the Feminist Fight to End Violence

Emily L. Thuma

Graphic News - Cover
Graphic News

How Sensational Images Transformed Nineteenth-Century Journalism

Amanda Frisken

Franklin D. Roosevelt - Cover
Franklin D. Roosevelt

The War Years, 1939-1945

Roger Daniels

The Labor Board Crew - Cover
The Labor Board Crew

Remaking Worker-Employer Relations from Pearl Harbor to the Reagan Era

Ronald W. Schatz

Technology and the Historian - Cover
Technology and the Historian

Transformations in the Digital Age

Adam Crymble

Death to Fascism - Cover
Death to Fascism

Louis Adamic's Fight for Democracy

John P. Enyeart

Tennis - Cover
Tennis

A History from American Amateurs to Global Professionals

Greg Ruth

Labor's End - Cover
Labor's End

How the Promise of Automation Degraded Work

Jason Resnikoff

Degrees of Difficulty - Cover
Degrees of Difficulty

How Women's Gymnastics Rose to Prominence and Fell from Grace

Georgia Cervin

To Turn the Whole World Over - Cover
To Turn the Whole World Over

Black Women and Internationalism

Edited by Keisha N. Blain and Tiffany M. Gill