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Needs and Wants

  • By: Marta Rodrigues Vilar Rosales
  • In: Encyclopedia of Consumer Culture
  • Edited by: Dale Southerton
  • Subject:Sociology of Consumption, Consumer Psychology, Consumer Culture

A need is defined as a circumstance in which something is necessary, a thing that is wanted or required. Want refers to scarcity, the state of being absent, or a desire for something necessary to life. The concepts of need and want are present in social sciences literature since its earlier stages. Central to the depiction and evaluation of production and consumption systems and activities, they are also significant for the discussion and characterization of broader topics, ranging from the distinctive nature of modern capitalism and the problems of social cohesion and inequality it generated to matters of human agency, particularly in the context of the new social order termed the consumer society. Because of the vastness of the theoretical debates and the multiplicity ...

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