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Engineered to SellEuropean Émigrés and the Making of Consumer Capitalism$
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Jan L. Logemann

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226660011

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226660295.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 26 May 2022

Consumer Engineers and the Transnational Origins of Consumer Capitalism

Consumer Engineers and the Transnational Origins of Consumer Capitalism

(p.1) Introduction Consumer Engineers and the Transnational Origins of Consumer Capitalism
Engineered to Sell

Jan L. Logemann

University of Chicago Press

The making of consumer capitalism was informed by transnational transfers and transatlantic exchanges in ways that have been largely overlooked by historians. A surprising number of mid 20th-century consumer experts were European immigrants and émigré refugees. They excelled in areas such as market research and advertising psychology as well as in industrial and graphic design. In different capacities, these experts helped to engineer the midcentury consumer´s republic by developing new marketing tools that fundamentally informed the dynamic expansion of American consumer capitalism. As corporate and government advisors, furthermore, they acted as transatlantic mediators after the war, facilitating postwar transfers in marketing knowledge and commercial practices back to Europe. This introduction contextualizes their story within the historiographies on mass consumption and business history as well as within research on elite migration and transnational knowledge transfers. In a mid centrury era of high modernity and social engineering, these émigré experts played crucial roles as transatlantic cultural intermediaries of consumer capitalism.

Keywords:   Business and Consumer History, Migration studies, History of Knowledge, History of emigration, History of Social Engineering

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