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 10: Thorstein Veblen in the Age of Hyperconsumption
Thorstein Veblen in the Age of Hyperconsumption
Thorstein Veblen has always had a small, but significant, following in the social sciences. However, his influence has increased recently because his famous work on ‘conspicuous consumption’ anticipates the growing importance of consumption (absolutely and in comparison to production) in American society and much of the rest of the world, as well as the increasing academic interest in sociology (and other fields) in consumption.1 Yet, the irony is that Veblen was very much a product of his times (late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century America) and, as a result, he shares with the other classical theorists of the day a focal interest in issues relating to production. Before we rush to give Veblen ...