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From Goodwill to GrungeA History of Secondhand Styles and Alternative Economies$
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Jennifer Le Zotte

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469631905

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469631905.001.0001

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Garage Sales and Suburban Subversiveness

Garage Sales and Suburban Subversiveness

(p.92) Chapter Three Garage Sales and Suburban Subversiveness
From Goodwill to Grunge

Jennifer Le Zotte

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter focuses on the origins and rise of another new form of secondhand exchange: the garage sales. Hosted and attended mostly by women, garage sales emerged in 1950s suburbs as tactics for newly isolated housewives to earn intermittent income, participate in politics, and build community networks. From huge Barry Goldwater campaign fundraisers to small family sales to raise "pin money," these intimate events both adapted to and defied the spatial limitations of suburban domesticity and postwar gender expectations. Moreover, garage sales introduced a new, larger-than-ever generation of middle-class youth to secondhand goods and clothing—providing provocative glimpses of the tools that could be used in a partly generational rejection of class status, sexual normativity, and political consensus.

Keywords:   Garage sales, Suburbs, Housewives, Politics, Postwar gender expectations, fundraisers

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