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Don Slater

In: The SAGE Handbook of Sociology

Chapter 10: The Sociology of Consumption and Lifestyle

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The Sociology of Consumption and Lifestyle
The sociology of consumption and lifestyle

Consumption has a profound but often problematic and unrecognized place in the social sciences over the modern period. Until perhaps the past two decades, it was less an area for substantive research than a barometer of ethical and political positions on the cultural quality and social health of modern society. For the broad tradition of liberalism, core values resided in the figure of the consumer as a self-defining agent who chooses, and whose autonomous and rational choice is exemplified in market behaviour – the sovereign consumer. For the various critical traditions within social analysis, consumer culture – as opposed to consumption per se – has tended to stand for the domination of the capitalist ...

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