Have you ever shoplifted? If so, you’re one of approximately 27 million Americans who “boost” products from retail outlets every year. For such a rampant practice, it has traditionally been rejected by academia and the media as a legitimate topic of study and discussion. In The Steal: A Cultural History of Shoplifting, Rachel Shteir attempts to lend some weight to the issue and define the act of stealing as a reflection of our culture. She traces the evolution of shoplifting as it originated in Elizabethan England, was pathologized as kleptomania in nineteenth-century Paris and served as a symbolic act of protest in the 1960s. How has shoplifting become such a popular crime? What methods are being put in place to prevent theft? How are shoplifters punished? What is the ultimate cost to retailers and communities?
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