The American Bourgeoisie: Distinction and Identity in the Nineteenth Century by J. RosenbaumThe American Bourgeoisie: Distinction and Identity in the Nineteenth Century by J. Rosenbaum

The American Bourgeoisie: Distinction and Identity in the Nineteenth Century

EditorJ. Rosenbaum, S. Beckert

Hardcover | January 19, 2011

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 748 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


What precisely constitutes an American bourgeoisie? Scholars have grappled with the question for a long time. Economic positions—the ownership of capital, for instance—most obviously define this group but cannot explain the emergence of shared identities or the capacity for collective action: after all, economic interests frequently drove capital-rich Americans apart as they competed for markets or governmental favors. Engaging fundamental questions about American society in the nineteenth century, this book argues that one of the most important factors in the self-definition of the bourgeoisie was its articulation of a shared culture.
Sven Beckert is Laird Bell Professor of History at Harvard University. He is the author of The Monied Metropolis: New York City and the Consolidation of the American Bourgeoisie. Currently he is writing a global history of cotton. Julia B. Rosenbaum is an Assistant Professor of Art History at Bard College, and has been a Visiting Rese...
Title:The American Bourgeoisie: Distinction and Identity in the Nineteenth CenturyFormat:HardcoverDimensions:294 pagesPublished:January 19, 2011Publisher:Palgrave Macmillan USLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230102948

ISBN - 13:9780230102941

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents

PART I * Goodbye to the Marketplace: Food and Exclusivity in Nineteenth-Century New York--Anne Mendelson * ‘Natural Distinction’: The American Bourgeois Search for Distinctive Signs in Europe--Maureen E. Montgomery * Henry James and the American Evolution of the Snob--Alide Cagidemetrio * Patina and Persistence: Miniature Patronage and Production in Antebellum Philadelphia--Anne Verplanck * The “Blending and Confusion” of Expensiveness and Beauty: Bourgeois Interiors--Katherine Grier * PART II * Institution-Building and Class Formation: How the Nineteenth-Century Bourgeoisie Organized--Sven Beckert * The Steady Supporters of Order: American Mechanics’ Institute Fairs as Icons of Bourgeois Culture--Ethan Robey * A Noble Pursuit? The Embourgeoisement of Genealogy, and Genealogy’s Making of the Bourgeoisie--Francesca Morgan * Elite Women and Class Formation--Mary Rech Rockwell * Rediscovering the Bourgeoisie: Higher Education and Governing Class Formation in the United States, 1870-1914--Peter Dobkin Hall * PART III * Public Sculpture and Bourgeois Self Image--Julia Rosenbaum * Class Authority and Cultural Entrepreneurship: The Problem of Chicago--Paul DiMaggio * Bourgeois Appropriation of Music: Challenging Ethnicity, Class, and Gender--Michael Broyles * The Birth of the American Art Museum--Alan Wallach * The Manufactured Patron: Staging Bourgeois Identity through Art Consumption in Postbellum America--John Ott

Editorial Reviews

 “The American Bourgeoisie, with its richly nuanced case studies—ranging from food to geneology; education to music—gives a new cultural dimension to our understanding of class formation in the late nineteenth century. This book tells the story of how social, expressive, and institutional practices transformed raw economic resources into class identities that largely trumped occupational, ethnic, regional, and political loyalties. It reveals class formation to be fluid and contingent upon social, material, and ritual enactments evolving in tandem with shifts in capital. With its distinguished roster of contributors, this volume offers a vital new resource for cultural and social history, material culture, art history, and literary studies.”—Angela Miller, Professor of Art History and Archaeology, Washington University “After three decades of intensive research on the European bourgeoisie, here comes the much-needed American counterpart. As in the European case, culture has gained center stage as a field of social demarcation and identification.”—Ute Frevert, Director, Max Planck Institute for Human Development“As these lively and perceptive essays demonstrate, nineteenth-century Americans of wealth devoted enormous energy to developing manners and building cultural institutions that distinguished them from common people in an ostensibly democratic society. How wealthy men and women dined, traveled, displayed art, decorated their houses, identified their ancestors, and established museums, concert halls, and alumni associations all spoke to an aspiration to refine capital and establish the legitimacy of the power associated with it. These essays bring the process of class formation alive with satisfying attention to its material and cultural dimensions.”—Elizabeth Blackmar, Professor of History, Columbia University“This is a wide-ranging collection of essays on aspects of elite American culture in the nineteenth century. One of its distinguishing features is the genuinely interdisciplinary character of its contributors. The cumulative picture they draw of the ways in which these economic elites drew closer together as the century wore on, the institutions of exclusion and self-definition they constructed, and the lasting patronage of the high arts on which they fashioned a part of their claims to worth and status is broad and coherent. For those interested in the origins of the cultural institutions that this group was so prolific in founding, in particular, this is a valuable collection.”—Daniel T. Rodgers, Henry Charles Lea Professor of History, Princeton University