Emotional Control   /   Spring 2010   /    Book Reviews

Allison J. Pugh’s Longing and Belonging: Parents, Children, and Consumer Culture

William A. Corsaro

Late in this wonderfully written and theoretically rich book, Pugh inadvertently implies the difficult challenges she must have faced in studying children’s consumer culture, which she characterizes as having “lightning-quick transitions” in which “fads and fashions change from week to week” (225). Would not whatever one could document and theorize about parents, children, and consumer culture be out of date almost immediately upon reaching publication? In terms of children’s consumer products themselves, most of what Pugh documents (things like Game Boys and Magic Cards, for example) probably have much less relevance in children’s everyday lives today. However, the theoretical narrative in which Pugh frames her rich ethnographic and interview data about consumer culture may indeed be timeless.

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