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Imaginative Hedonism

  • By: Matthias Zick Varul
  • In: Encyclopedia of Consumer Culture
  • Edited by: Dale Southerton
  • Subject:Sociology of Consumption, Consumer Psychology, Consumer Culture

The concept of imaginative hedonism has been developed by Colin Campbell (1987) to account for the apparent insatiability of the modern consumer. Campbell states that this insatiability cannot be explained by a generalization of aristocratic luxury consumption. Such luxury in “traditional hedonism” typically is not innovative but merely quantitative excess over need satisfaction. Having moved beyond necessity, the traditional hedonist tries to re-create the pleasure of need satisfaction by intensifying and refining the sensual stimuli involved. But in relying on sensations, such hedonism still remains bound by the absolute limits to possible physical arousal. Further, overstimulation does not only fail to infinitely increase pleasure, but also it often achieves the opposite: nausea. Traditional luxury consumption normally has the function of asserting social rank (cf. conspicuous ...

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