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 9: The New Means of Consumption and the Situationist Perspective
The New Means of Consumption and the Situationist Perspective
Nothing is surprising anymore, there's the rub! (Raoul Vaneigem, The Revolution of Everyday Life)
One non-revolutionary weekend is infinitely more bloody than a month of permanent revolution. (Situationist graffito)
The new means of consumption are best understood as part of a broader change in capitalism that has rippled across the social world. This change is characterized by both a shift in focus from production to consumption and the rise of the postmodern phenomena that are characteristic of late capitalism, such as simulation and ephemerality. Though Marx's writings contain important conceptual tools for understanding the exploitative nature of consumption – especially the idea of commodity fetishism – there is a sense ...