The question of consumption emerged as a major focus of research and scholarship in the 1990s but the breadth and diversity of consumer culture has not been fully enough explored. The meanings of consumption, particularly in relation to lifestyle and identity, are of great importance to academic areas including business studies, sociology, cultural and media studies, psychology, geography and politics. The SAGE Handbook of Consumer Culture is a one-stop resource for scholars and students of consumption, where the key dimensions of consumer culture are critically discussed and articulated. The editors have organised contributions from a global and interdisciplinary team of scholars into six key sections: Part 1: Sociology of Consumption Part 2: Geographies of Consumer Culture Part 3: Consumer Culture Studies in Marketing Part 4: Consumer Culture in Media and Cultural Studies Part 5: Material Cultures of Consumption Part 6: The Politics of Consumer Culture

Consumption, Class and Taste

Consumption, Class and Taste

Consumption, Class and Taste
Jessica Paddock


This chapter charts the sociological consideration of class and taste and their bearing on consumer practice. Indeed, since the Cultural Turn and the rise of post-industrial neoliberal free market capitalism, traditional class categories have been understood as ceasing to resonate, due to a blurring of boundaries between working- and middle-class occupations and the cultures that go with them (Crompton, 2008; Savage, 2000). This begs the question as to whether there remain any pronounced differences between classes today. To answer such a question, we must consider on the one hand how differences between social groups find means of expression, while on the other, equip ourselves with the tools necessary to observe and understand these manifestations.

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