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Families

  • By: Amber M. Epp, James W. Gentry, Robert L. Harrison & Stacey Menzel Baker
  • In: Encyclopedia of Consumer Culture
  • Edited by: Dale Southerton
  • Subject:Sociology of Consumption, Consumer Psychology, Consumer Culture

Family is one of the central organizing units of consumption. Within the context of the family, we make collective and individual choices, express social and emotional bonds, draw from and resist the pressures of consumer culture, and learn how to be consumers through fundamental socialization processes. However, questions on what family means and on how to define family are increasingly relevant in contemporary society and continually challenge existing theories of consumption. Demographic and sociocultural shifts around the world have made traditional definitions of family a distant memory. Recent U.S. Census numbers indicate that single persons constitute over 30 percent of the households in the United States. Though divorce rates are low in most Latin American (predominantly Catholic) countries and in Muslim countries, they have grown ...

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