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.

Taste, Identity and Practices

Taste, identity and practices

Trying to leave behind dichotomous thinking, an approach towards consumption which brings it back down to earth has developed showing that goods work as a system of non-verbal communication and are put to use to mark social and cultural boundaries. The communication approach, which no differently from Marxism pops up periodically throughout the history of reflection on consumption, has found fertile ground in contemporary anthropology and cultural sociology. It saw its apogee in the late 1970s and the early 1980s, after some years of economic stagnation which brought back to light the activities that consumers had to perform in order to use commodities appropriately. In this period, two seminal studies on consumption were published: Pierre Bourdieu's Distinction (1984, ...

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