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Decommodification

  • By: Roberta Sassatelli
  • In: Encyclopedia of Consumer Culture
  • Edited by: Dale Southerton
  • Subject:Sociology of Consumption, Consumer Psychology, Consumer Culture

In current theories of consumption, consumer practices are often described as processes of decommodification or decommoditization. The notion of decommodification indicates the active work—symbolic and practical—that people as consumers do on goods to make them effective, meaningful, and usable in everyday relations, thus partially removing them from the cash nexus. It denotes the fact that consumer practices amount to a relatively autonomous sphere of action and cannot be directly reduced to production or exchange relations.

In late capitalist societies, consumption is seen as related to the purchase, use, and disposal of commodities. Commodities are goods that are sold on the market at a price; they have often been produced for sale, but they may exit the circuits of monetary exchange, for example, through gift-giving relations. ...

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