A Social History


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About the Book

Shoplifting is a practice that has been engaged in for centuries, but it was only after the Civil War that the prevalence of shoplifting and societal awareness of it, became significant. In the 1860s the typical shoplifter was from the lower classes; by 1900 it was an upper-class woman who shoplifted from a huge department store “because” she was a “kleptomaniac”, and in the 1960s it was teenagers stealing for kicks. Shoplifting: A Social History looks at the activity of shoplifting for the last 140 years: the types of people singled out as the principal offenders, retailers’ ambivalent responses to the activity, selective prosecution, the utilization of high-tech antitheft devices, and suing shoplifters to recover costs. Also examined are media accounts which have often used exaggerated numbers when discussing the activity and the effect of private justice on the offense. Discrepancies in treatment of lower-class women versus “respectable” women shoplifters will be of interest to women’s studies scholars.

About the Author(s)

Cultural historian Kerry Segrave is the author of dozens of books on such diverse topics as drive-in theaters, lie detectors, jukeboxes, smoking, shoplifting and ticket-scalping. He lives in British Columbia.

Bibliographic Details

Kerry Segrave
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 192
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2001
pISBN: 978-0-7864-0908-2
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5078-7
Imprint: McFarland