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 Cultural Production of Economic Value

The cultural production of economic value

The rise in material standards and the increase in consumer spending in the West was accompanied by the development of particular attitudes and mentalities which need to be considered in their own right if we are to appreciate the development of consumer culture and society. The history of consumer society is also the history of the formation of new cultural orientations towards the economy, goods and material culture. It is also the history of how the category of ‘consumption’ has become more and more significant in public discourses and, in parallel, of the ways in which social actors have progressively become referred to and called forth as ‘consumers’ as well as ‘citizens’, ‘workers’ or ...

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