Date of Degree

6-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Liberal Studies

Advisor

Tanya Agathocleous

Advisor

Cindy Lobel

Subject Categories

American Material Culture | American Popular Culture | Cultural History | History of Gender | Labor History | Other American Studies | Other Film and Media Studies | United States History | Visual Studies | Women's History

Keywords

New Deal, National Recovery Administration, Blue Eagle Campaign, Great Depression, Consumerism

Abstract

This thesis will argue that New Deal legislation accounted for increased importance placed on consumers and the articulation of consumer citizenship as female during the Great Depression. Once New Deal programs and legislation determined and legitimized the consumer citizen, the consumer citizen exercised influence though purchasing power. Analyzing the ways the federal government defined women as consumer citizens through programs like the National Recovery Administration’s Blue Eagle Campaign offers important insight into who was considered to have a voice. Notions of citizenship define groups by who has the necessary attributes and qualifications—in this case the means to purchase goods—to be included. By naming a group, like consumer citizens, those excluded become highlighted. Through these relationships this thesis will examine gender norms, a nation and economy in crisis, consumerism, advertising, citizenship, issues of class, and identity formation. The content of this paper will examine questions such as, who has access to being considered a consumer citizen? What are the limits of consumer citizenship?

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