Under the Maple Canopy

Singing Union Songs Since 2009

On My Wish List – “Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture”


This book recently popped up on the list of things Amazon thought I might be interested in.  We’ll save my discomfort over this kind of tracking for later (I’ve got a limited budget and specialized tastes – more often than not I find myself buying from Amazon.  At the very least it’s a great way to find out what books are out there that I can then request from the library.) and instead focus on Shannon Hayes’ new book “Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture.”  Why’s it on my wish list?  This quote from the introduction for starters:

The trick that Ruth and Sanford had taught us was simple.  Mainstream American culture views the household as a unit of consumption.  By this conventional standard, the household consumes food, clothing, household technologies, repair and debt services, electricity, entertainment, health-care services, and environmental resources.  In order to be a “successful” unit of consumption, the household must have money.  Ruth and Sanford’s household was not a unit of consumption.  By growing their own food, living within their means, providing much of their own health care, and relying on community, family and barter for meeting their remaining needs, their household was essentially a unit of production (just not by the standards of a market economy).  Thus, their income wasn’t critical to their well-being.

It’s a fairly new book so my local library doesn’t have it yet, but from what I’ve been able to read in the Amazon preview of the book it holds some real promise.  I’m especially interested in the section of the book where she discusses the limitation modern families will face in trying to achieve what generations had before us.  I suspect that part will speak strongly to me in the phase of life I find myself in.  As much as I think it’s important to limit one’s consumption of processed foods they are serving a sanity saving role for me with three little ones at my feet demanding more attention than I feel I can give successfully.  I’m still trying to find my footing, but I don’t think that will preclude seeking inspiration in places like this book.


2 thoughts on “On My Wish List – “Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture”

  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog!
    I just love the picture on the front of that book. Pretty powerful!
    Love your side quotes too.

  2. I agree…very powerful. I have high hopes that Hayes’ book will present a middle way for families between two largely antagonistic views of family life (this one vs. this one).

    Oh, and thank you. I appreciate your kind words.