• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

The Unmanageable Consumer examines the key Western traditions of thinking about and being a consumer. Each chapter posits a consumer model with examples from the international community. Readers are invited to enter an exciting and radical analysis of contemporary consumerism which suggests that consumerism is fragile and consumers unpredictable.

The Emergence of Contemporary Consumerism
The emergence of contemporary consumerism

There is little sign that most of the populace wish for anything other than a continual increase in the availability of such products and the benefits felt to be received by their possession.

DanielMiller, 1987: 185
Core Arguments

Five meanings of the term consumerism are introduced, tracing some continuities in consumption patterns, but also identifying some new qualities of its contemporary forms. The 20th-century was characterized by a ‘Fordist Deal’ under which enhanced standards of living compensated for alienated work. This deal has unravelled with the new global division of labour. The major challenge for consumerism in the future looks likely to arise from its environmental impact, partly as a result of the spread of Western consumerism worldwide.

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