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date: 20 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses the relationship between gender history and the history of the family, especially in the field of consumer studies, and examines works that consider the rise of a ‘modern’ public sphere, structured around mass consumption and potentially more inclusive with respect to women. Reframing Jürgen Habermas's account with a gender-conscious approach and recognizing the power of the discourse in shaping historical processes, some of the studies it considers critically utilize the Habermasian assumption that commercial culture caused a radical transformation of the classic bourgeois public realm. Focusing on the contemporary debate about women shoppers and the challenge they posed to the masculine public sphere, these works explore the tensions between different ‘publics’ that were emerging in the nineteenth century within European societies and the changing ways in which domesticity and motherhood were linked to consumer culture. The article also looks at the politicization of everyday life in twentieth-century Europe.

Keywords: Europe, gender, family, women, public sphere, politicization, everyday life, domesticity, consumption, Jürgen Habermas

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