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
Chapter 3: Objects, Commodities, and Non-Commodities
Objects, Commodities, and Non-Commodities
Perhaps the earliest and most influential sociological account of the social character of objects is to be found in Marx's discussion of the fetishism of commodities in the opening book of Capital. He sees commodities as f etishistic because they appear to relate exclusively to each other, hiding the fact that they are in actuality products of human labour and thus bring human beings into particular relations with each other. Where personal relations in feudalism were not disguised under the shape of the social relations between products of labour, such relations under capitalism take the form of a relation between things. These things can be exchanged on the market because they are all ‘really’ different manifestations of the ...