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 6: Enchanting a Disenchanted World: Revolutionizing the Means of Consumption
Enchanting a Disenchanted World: Revolutionizing the Means of Consumption
This chapter deals with the almost dizzying proliferation of settings1 that allow, encourage and even compel us to consume so many goods and services. The settings of interest to us here will be termed either the ‘new means of consumption’ or the ‘new cathedrals of consumption’. Whatever we call them, they are, in the main, settings that have come into existence or taken new forms since the close of the Second World War and which, building upon but going beyond earlier settings, have dramatically transformed the nature of consumption. Because of important continuities, it is not always easy to distinguish clearly between new and older means of consumption ...