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Consumption Patterns and Trends

  • By: Nikhilesh Dholakia & A. Fuat Fırat
  • In: Encyclopedia of Consumer Culture
  • Edited by: Dale Southerton
  • Subject:Sociology of Consumption, Consumer Psychology, Consumer Culture

The economic notions of consumption patterns refer to expenditure patterns of income groups across or within categories of products, such as food, clothing, and discretionary items. Sociocultural and political extensions of the consumption pattern idea probe the class, cultural, and symbolic dimensions of organization of consumption.

Although there are significant sociohistorical studies of how society organizes consumption—that is, of patterns of consumption (see, e.g., Braudel 1992; Campbell 1987; Slater 1999)—studies of contemporary consumption patterns from sociocultural perspectives are relatively sparse. This is to a great extent because the long perspective of history, often very necessary to understand the patterning of consumption, is unavailable to social and cultural scholars looking at consumption phenomena as they happen. Of course, a whole industry of consultants exists to identify unfolding ...

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