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Friday, September 4, 2020

Shoplifting As a Cultural Phenomenon

What's new about shoplifting [as opposed to riotous looting] today is that it has become a cultural phenomenon--a silent epidemic, driven by pretty much everything in our era. Some scholars connect it to traditional families' disintegration, the American love of shopping, the downshifting of the middle class, global capitalism, immigration, the replacement of independent stores with big chains, and the lessening of faith's hold on conduct. Shoplifting gets tangled up in American cycles of spending and saving, and boom and bust, and enacts the tension between the rage to consume conspicuously and the intention to live thriftily. 

Rachel Shteir, The Steal, 2011

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