• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Showing the cultural and institutional processes that have brought the notion of the ‘consumer’ to life, this book guides the reader on a comprehensive journey through the history of how we have come to understand ourselves as consumers in a consumer society and reveals the profound ambiguities and ambivalences inherent within. Rooted in sociology, Roberta Sassatelli also draws on history, anthropology, geography, and economics to give an exemplary introduction to the history and theory of consumer culture.

The Rise of Consumer Culture
The rise of consumer culture

In most conventional descriptions of the birth of capitalism, consumption is rarely portrayed as a crucial phenomenon, let alone one which is capable of being the propulsive force behind historical processes. The birth of modern capitalist society is normally explained through a series of diverse variables, all of them inherent, as it were, to the sphere of production: from the industrial revolution to the spread of an industrious and calculating bourgeois mentality. However, the social sciences have recently begun to recognize that the history of consumption – intended as a bundle of practices, a contested object of moral judgement and a category of analysis – is extremely important in understanding the genesis of the capitalist system ...

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