Daily Life in the United States, 1960-1990: Decades of Discord

By Myron A. Marty | Go to book overview

4 Consumers in the Material World

Consumers attending to their material needs went shopping, and by the 1960s that meant going to shopping centers. Such centers traced their origins to the increased use of automobiles and the growth of suburbs. The first--including such well-known and distinctive ones as the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri--were built in the 1920s and 1930s. Construction accelerated rapidly following World War II, and by the end of the 1960s there were more than 10,000 shopping centers of all sizes and descriptions. Most notable were the new creations of the 1960s, the enclosed shopping malls. Only homes, schools, and jobs claimed more of the American people's time than shopping malls.

Shopping Centers and Malls

The malls developed in the 1960s had features that have since been refined. By today's standards the early malls seem unsophisticated. Although each had distinctive architectural features and each sought to set itself apart from others, a monotonous predictability prevailed. In mall after mall, the climate-controlled interiors with replanted landscapes blurred indoor and outdoor sensations. No sounds of nature were to be heard--only Muzak, music intended to remove silence without requiring listening.

In Disneyesque fashion, malls reproduced images of the small town. Missing, however, as one scholar has noted, were pool halls, bars, second-hand stores, and the kind of people who patronize them.1 From one mall to the next, even the shoppers seemed to look the same: white, middle-class, suburban. So did those who were there just to hang out,

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Daily Life in the United States, 1960-1990: Decades of Discord
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in the Greenwood Press "Daily Life through History" Series ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Notes xiii
  • Introduction xv
  • Introduction xix
  • Part I - Modern Times Flourish and Fade: 1960-1966 1
  • 1 - Family Life 3
  • 2 - Changing Population Patterns 11
  • 3 - Private and Public Lives 25
  • 4 - Consumers in the Material World 35
  • 5 - The Other America 43
  • 6 - Mind and Spirit 51
  • 7 - Technology in Daily Life 57
  • 8 - Cultural Transformations 65
  • Part II - Troubled Times: 1967-1974 77
  • 9 - Changing Families 79
  • 10 - Civil Rights and Group Identities 87
  • 11 - Securities Shaken 99
  • 12 - Cultural Reflections/Cultural Influences 115
  • 13 - Material Aspects of Life 127
  • 14 - Environmental and Consumer Protection 141
  • 15 - Technology's Small Steps and Giant Leaps 149
  • 16 - Hard Knocks for Schools 159
  • 17 - Spiritual Matters 169
  • 18 - Not Ready for New Times 175
  • Part III - Times of Adjustment, 1975-1980 179
  • 19 - Family Changes Continue 181
  • 20 - The Peoples of America 187
  • 21 - Security Concerns 195
  • 22 - Television, Movies, and More 205
  • 23 - Cares of Daily Life 215
  • 24 - Arenas of Discord 225
  • 25 - Pulling Together 239
  • Part IV - Crossing the Postmodern Divide: 1981-1990 245
  • 26 - Family Variations 247
  • 27 - People at the Margins 255
  • 28 - Security Concerns Continue 265
  • 29 - Diversions 277
  • 30 - Concerns of Daily Life 291
  • 31 - Technology 303
  • 32 - More Discord 309
  • 33 - Prospects 331
  • Selected Bibliography 337
  • Index 353
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