The term consumer society is commonly used to distinguish contemporary affluent societies from traditional agricultural or modern industrial societies, to emphasize the role of consumption as a factor in social structure and as an element of lifestyle.

History and Meaning of the Term

The concept of the consumer society has been commonly used since the early decades of the twentieth century, originally in the United States, where the wealth of mass-produced consumer goods first became apparent. It designates the importance of consumption in everyday life, but it has also had ideological connotations, meaning that capitalist economies are overwhelmingly efficient in providing commodities at affordable prices to ordinary consumers. In social science discourses, it has suffered from ill fame. As a theoretical vision of advanced capitalism, it has ...

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