• 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.

Capitalism and the Consumer Revolution
Capitalism and the consumer revolution

For a long time sociology and history implicitly followed a dualist position which gave the organization of production the role of the engine of history. Studies of 17th to 18th century material culture have discredited this productivist vision which typically presented consumer society as emerging at the beginning of the 20th century as a sudden and mechanical reaction to the industrial revolution, and then gradually penetrating all social classes through the consumption of mass-produced goods. On the basis of the work of the French historian Fernand Braudel (1979), who began to study this problem not as a separate economic phenomenon but as an integral part of culture and the material life of people, historians have begun ...

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