Consumer Culture and Society offers an introduction to the study of consumerism and mass consumption from a sociological perspective. It examines what we buy, how and where we consume, the meanings attached to the things we purchase, and the social forces that enable and constrain consumer behavior. Opening chapters provide a theoretical overview and history of consumer society and featured case studies look at mass consumption in familiar contexts, such as tourism, food, and higher education. The book explores ethical and political concerns, including consumer activism, indebtedness, alternative forms of consumption, and dilemmas surrounding the globalization of consumer culture.
Chapter 4: The Places and Spaces of Consumption
The Places and Spaces of Consumption
Compared to the objects and subjects of consumption, the places and spaces of consumption have only recently begun to be analyzed with the same rigor (Ritzer, Goodman, and Wiedenhoft 2001). This oversight may be attributed to the fact that individuals were involved with consumption far before there were permanent, physical buildings established solely for this activity. Prior to the establishment of places exclusively devoted to mass consumption, individuals engaged in self-production and barter and may have attended the occasional fair (Williams 1982). Consumers might have traveled to a market to purchase food and clothing, but these were often temporary vendor stalls located in more densely populated urban areas. In large cities, ...