chapter  6
Consuming post-modernity
WithPenny Sparke
Pages 18

Americanisation hit the shores of Europe in the 1940s and 1950s. It brought with it a new model of consumption that varied, nonetheless, according to the local conditions it encountered. The mass media – film, television, magazines, advertising and mass manufactured images and products themselves – were instrumental in portraying a range of life-style models that could be appropriated through consumption. The identities that were formed by the consumption of material goods in the early post-war years were highly gendered. The Museum of Modern Art in New York ran a series of exhibitions, entitled ‘Good Design’, which aimed to educate American consumers. Post-modernism questioned the line that had hitherto separated high culture from its popular equivalent; sought ways of bringing marginal voices – those defined by gender, sexuality and race, among categories – closer to the centre; and rejected value judgements based on what were seen as limited and out-dated criteria.