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The Materiality of Consumer Culture
The Materiality of Consumer Culture
Paul R. Mullins
Introduction: Imagining Things – Consumers, Material Culture, and Material Desire

It is not at all surprising that consumer scholarship has routinely examined material things as lenses onto marketing and economic structure, dominant ideologies, and a host of dimensions of social and individual subjectivity. Nevertheless, material things often figure in such scholarship as rather shallow symbols, their meanings dispensed by style makers, marketers, and ideologues. Material things paradoxically occupy a central position in consumer scholarship even as concrete material culture, systematic empirical analysis, and the sensory experience of things often remain unexamined.

The concept of materiality is sometimes wielded simply as a clumsy reference to concrete objects and their physical presence. Most materiality scholarship instead champions ...

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