This lucid introduction to the sociology of consumerism examines the relationship between production and consumption in late capitalist societies. The historical and theoretical discussion provides the student with the tools to examine key themes in the sociology of consumption. After a detailed historical overview of the advent of consumer society, Peter Corrigan examines theoretical accounts of consumption and consumer practice, including: Veblen and conspicuous consumption; Mary Douglas on the world of goods; Jean Baudrillard on the system of objects; and Pierre Bourdieu on cultural capital. This historical and theoretical discussion provides the student with the tools to examine key themes in the socio

Introduction: Advents of the Consuming Society

Introduction: Advents of the consuming society

O, wonder!

How many worldly goods are there here!

How beauteous commodities are! O brave new world

That has such consumers in't!

— Miranda Postmodern

Although consumption takes place in all human cultures, it is only in the present century that consumption on a truly mass scale has begun to appear as a foundational, rather than merely epiphenomenal, characteristic of society. Where there is subsistence production, there will be subsistence consumption: all that is produced is consumed without remainder, and such items as food and clothing appear entirely plain and functional. It is unlikely, however, that such a minimalist society could exist under anything other than extreme conditions. Production generally implies more than subsistence, and the question of a ...

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