The value of a pint: a cultural economy of American beer Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Beckham, Janel Nikol
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Communication
  • As a material commodity beer has remained surprisingly unchanged since its discovery--composed of roughly the same ingredients, combined in roughly the same proportions, to achieve roughly the same product. What has been in dramatic flux, particularly over the past 100 years, is how beer is valued. This dissertation considers the numerous and complex ways beer has been and continues to be woven into the fabric of contemporary American life. Changes in the valuation of beer--for instance beer valued as a uniquely taxable and critically profitable source of depression-era internal revenue; as a means of supporting U.S. troops during WWII; as an exemplar of achievable value-added through branding; as a racialized social ill; as a catalyst for technological innovation in packaging and distribution; as emblematic of American masculinity; or as a touchstone of activism advocating sustainable practices of producing, distributing and consuming food and drink--are most often narrowly cast as products of economic change or products of cultural change. In crafting a historically and contextually contingent cultural economy of American beer, this project frames such changes as a complex articulation of the two and in doing so, advances a theory of culturally embedded valuation.
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  • In Copyright
  • Grossberg, Lawrence
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Graduation year
  • 2014

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