• Summary
  • Overview
  • Key Readings

Consumption is a core issue for all disciplines studying culture and society. This four-volume set covers such diverse issues as food, environment, and housing in terms of societys seemingly insatiable lust for consumption.

Volume I includes classic and recent theoretical essays of lasting significance for the discipline and for the critique of consumer behavior, by such influential voices such as Jean Baudrillard and Theodor Adorno. Volume II deals with how people get what they consume. Acquisition involves economic and social processes of exchange (including markets, gifts, and state provision) and the selections in this volume cover the conditions for access and the institutionalized processes for acquisition, including the encouragement to consume, allowing some reference to issues of cultural production. Volume III draws from anthropology, sociology and cultural studies to expound on the central idea of appropriation, capturing the importance of people domesticating mass - produced and alien products, converting them into items with personal meanings and using and appreciating them for their own purposes. Volume IV unpacks the frameworks of understanding acceptable conduct grounded in moral and social judgments of symbolic value. Such phenomena are part of the process of appreciation, which is partly a matter of pleasure and satisfaction, partly related to the meanings derived from their aesthetic representation, and partly entailed in judgments about desirability and quality.

Volume 1: The shaping of the field

Volume 2: Acquisition

Volume 3: Appropriation

Volume 4: Appreciation

Editor's Introduction

This collection of essays maps recent developments of social scientific approaches to the understanding of consumption. Consumption now looms large in academic curricula – from marketing to anthropology, economics to sociology. It is also a matter of contemporary concern to governments and their populations. The four volumes in this set make available, in a convenient compilation, important contributions to contemporary debates which will allow a reader without easy access to a well-stocked research library to appreciate the current state of scholarship on the social aspects of consumption. The selection represents a range of social science disciplines, but with a pronounced emphasis on works at the interface of sociology, anthropology and cultural studies. I have included a few important and influential pieces from the ...

locked icon

Sign in to access this content