• 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

Shops and Shopping: The Department Store
Shops and shopping: The department store

One of the most important moments in the development of consumer culture was the advent of the department store in the middle of the nineteenth century. This came about, argues Richard Sennett (1978[1976]: 142), because of changes in the production system: the factory allowed more and more goods to be made more quickly than hand production ever could achieve, and thus more efficient outlets were required. Industrialization encouraged the existence of vast emporia in which practically anything could be purchased. Shopping became quite a different experience in the department stores: prices were fixed, there was free entry, and anybody's coin was as good as anybody else's. The fixed price meant there was none of ...

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