Commodification is an instructive concept for the study of consumer culture insofar as it allows for consideration of the social relations that lie behind—and are made possible by—acts of consumption. To understand commodification, it is important to first define what commodities are, and basic definitions suggest that they are objects with an exchange value as well as a use value. Commodification refers to the economic and cultural processes through which objects become commodities, and it is commonly held that these involve both the material production of the thing and the semiotic marking of it as a particular kind of thing. Moralistic commentators use the term as shorthand for a generalized critique in which they suggest that consumer cultures are characterized by the “commodification” of things ...

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