Essay about Stewart Ewen Chosen People

2046 WordsSep 10, 20149 Pages
RWS 100 Stuart Ewen’s Chosen People “It’s not what you own its what people think you own” (Ewen 183). Consumerism is fueling today’s “middle class”. Stewart Ewen’s “Chosen People” goes into detail about the rise of the materialistic middle class. As Ewen begins by describing the two contrasting perspectives of social reality. “It described factory industrialism as producing the accoutrements of a democracy, one which invites every man to enhance his own comfort and status. Equating democracy with consumption” (Ewen 187). Ewen recognizes that “Mass production, according to this outlook was investing individuals with tools of identity, marks of their personhood” (Ewen 187). One side of the perception of social reality is production.…show more content…
As Ewen wraps up the correlation between the American dream and social mobility he concludes that the middle class became increasingly more obsessed with their appearance. Ewen then presents the reader with Ira Steward, a weaver and leader in the Massachusetts movement for and eight hour workday. Steward goes into further detail of the reason that the middle class felt the need to focus so much on their appearance. “To advertise one’s self destitute, is to be without credit, that tides so many in safety- to their standing in society- over the shallow places where ready resources fail” (qtd. in Ewen 192). Ewen uses Steward to explain that “the poor man is an unsuccessful man” (qtd. in Ewen 192). In America, we are judged by what we own. Being poor not only means that the person is unsuccessful but it is almost as if that person isn’t even a citizen. Keeping up an image that looks good is almost like buying your way into citizenship and acceptance. “The more expensive and superior style of living adopted by the middle classes must therefore be considered in the light of an investment, made from the soundest considerations of expediency- considering their risks and their chances-and from motives even of self preservation, rather than the mere desire for self indulgence.” (qtd. in Ewen 192). Ewen presents the idea that a person’s image

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