• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

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

Theoretical Approaches to Consumption
Theoretical approaches to consumption

After the historical approach of the introductory chapter, we now take a look at some of the theories that have been influential in the development of sociological accounts of consumption. An important common theme in the texts considered here is the idea that consumers and their objects communicate positions in the social world, and that this is more fundamental than any idea of simply fulfilling a particular concrete need. We begin with Douglas and Isherwood's (1979) argument that consumers use goods to construct an intelligible universe and to make and maintain social relationships. Then we consider Baudrillard's (1988 [1970]) perspective that consumption is something that is tightly linked not to the individual consumer but to the overall economic ...

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