In this book, one of the leading social theorists and cultural commentators of modern times, turns his gaze on consumption. George Ritzer, author of the famous McDonaldization Thesis, demonstrates the irrational consequences of the rational desire to consume and commodify. He examines how McDonaldization might be resisted, and situates the reader in the new cultural spaces that are emerging in society: shopping malls, casino hotels, Disneyfied theme parks and Las Vegas -- the new `cathedrals of consumption' as he calls them. The book shows how new processes of consumption relate to globalization theory. In illuminating discussions of the work of Thorstein Veblen and the French situationists, Ritzer unearths the roots of problems of consumption in older sociological traditions. He indicates how transgression is bound up with consumption, through an investigation of the obscene in popular and postmodern culture.
Chapter 1: Introduction
The first volume of this two-volume collection of my work was largely theoretical and metatheoretical (Explorations in Social Theory). This volume focuses on material that involves the application of an array of theoretical ideas to consumption. Thus, these are simultaneously chapters in applied social theory and in the sociology of consumption. However, while they are largely works in applied social theory, they have their metatheoretical elements. For example, Chapter 9 is mainly a metatheoretical analysis of the work related to consumption of a French school of neo-Marxian theory, the situationists, and Chapter 10 does a similar analysis of the path-breaking contributions of Thorstein Veblen to our understanding of consumption. While these two chapters are primarily metatheoretical in character, their main goal is to enhance ...