Thrift and Thriving in America: Capitalism and Moral Order from the Puritans to the Present

Hardcover | July 27, 2011

EditorJoshua Yates, James Davison Hunter

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Thrift is a powerful and evolving moral ideal, disposition, and practice that has indelibly marked the character of American life since its earliest days. Its surprisingly multifaceted character opens a number of expansive vistas for analysis, not only in the American past, but also in itspresent. Thrift remains, if perhaps in unexpected and counter-intuitive ways, intensely relevant to the complex issues of contemporary moral and economic life. Thrift and Thriving in America is a collection of groundbreaking essays from leading scholars on the seminal importance of thrift to American culture and history. From a rich diversity of disciplinary perspectives, the volume shows that far from the narrow and attenuated rendering of thrift as asynonym of saving and scrimping, thrift possess an astonishing capaciousness and dynamism, and that the idiom of thrift has, in one form or another, served as the primary language for articulating the normative dimensions of economic life throughout much of American history. The essays put thriftin a more expansive light, revealing its compelling etymology-its sense of "thriving." This deeper meaning has always operated as the subtext of thrift and at times has even been invoked to critique its more restricted notions. So understood, thrift moves beyond the instrumentalities of "more orless" and begs the question: what does it mean and take to thrive? Thoroughly examining how Americans have answered this question, Thrift and Thriving in America provides fascinating insight into evolving meanings of material wellbeing, and of the good life and the good society more generally, and will serve as a perennial resource on a notion that has and willcontinue to shape and define American life.

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Thrift is a powerful and evolving moral ideal, disposition, and practice that has indelibly marked the character of American life since its earliest days. Its surprisingly multifaceted character opens a number of expansive vistas for analysis, not only in the American past, but also in itspresent. Thrift remains, if perhaps in unexpect...

Joshua J. Yates is a Research Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia and Director of the Program on Culture, Capitalism, and Global Change at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Culture. James Davison Hunter is the LaBrosse-Levinson Distinguished Professor of Religion, Culture and Social Theory at the Universi...

other books by Joshua Yates

Format:HardcoverDimensions:640 pages, 6.5 × 9.41 × 1.69 inPublished:July 27, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199769060

ISBN - 13:9780199769063

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Table of Contents

1. James Davison Hunter and Joshua J. Yates: Introduction: The Question of ThriftPart I: The Emergence of Thrift in Early America, 1630-18802. Daniel Walker Howe: The Controversial Virtue of Thrift in the Early American Republic3. Deirdre McCloskey: The Prehistory of American Thrift4. James Calvin Davis and Charles Mathewes: Saving Grace and Moral Striving: Thrift in Puritan Theology5. Stephen Innes: Thrift and Prosperity6. Joyce Appleby: Moderation in the First Era of Popular Consumption7. Kathleen D. McCarthy: Spreading the Gospel of Self-Denial: Thrift and Association in Antebellum America8. Patrick Rael: African Americans, Slavery, and Thrift from the Revolution to the Civil WarPart II: The Modernization of Thrift: Years of Transition and Transformation, 1880-19509. T. J. Jackson Lears: The Modernization of Thrift10. James Davison Hunter: Thrift and Moral Formation11. Lawrence B. Glickman: The Virtue of Consumption: Challenging Thrift in an Age of Transition12. Jennifer Scanlon: Thrift and Advertising13. Lendol Calder: Hard Payments: Consumer Credit and Thrift14. Olivier Zunz: Mass Philanthropy as Public Thrift for an Age of Consumption15. David M. Reimers: Immigrants and Thrift16. Kiku Adatto: Saving for Democracy: Thrift, Sacrifice, and the World War II Bond CampaignsPart III: Thriving After Thrift? Prosperity and Crisis since 195017. Robert H. Frank: Why Do Americans Save So Little and Does It Matter?18. Steven Fraser: The Rise and Fall of "Collective Thrift": Social Insurance, Economic Planning, and the Decline of Modern American Liberalism19. Steven Brint and Kristopher Proctor: Middle-Class Respectability in 21st Century America: Work and Lifestyle in the Professional-Managerial Stratum20. Wilson Brissett: Thrift in the Other America21. J. R. McNeill and George Vrtis: Thrift and Waste in American History: An Ecological View22. Joshua J. Yates: Disputing Abundance: The Antiglobalization Protest Movement and Our Changing Natural Imaginary23. Joshua J. Yates and James Davison Hunter: Conclusion: Thrift and Thriving: Toward a Moral Framework for Economic Life