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Consumer Culture and Society
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Consumer Culture and Society



July 2016 | 272 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Consumer Culture and Society offers an introduction to the study of consumerism and mass consumption from a sociological perspective.  It examines what we buy, how and where we consume, the meanings attached to the things we purchase, and the social forces that enable and constrain consumer behavior.  Opening chapters provide a theoretical overview and history of consumer society and featured case studies look at mass consumption in familiar contexts, such as tourism, food, and higher education.  The book explores ethical and political concerns, including consumer activism, indebtedness, alternative forms of consumption, and dilemmas surrounding the globalization of consumer culture. 

 
Foreword and Acknowledgments
 
About the Author
 
Chapter 1. Introduction: Historical Context and Theoretical Tensions
Historical Context

 
Positioning the Concept of Consumption: Tensions and Contradictions

 
Organization of the Book

 
 
PART I. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
 
Chapter 2. Objects of Consumption: Commodities and Mass Consumer Society
The Production of Commodities

 
The Value of Commodities

 
The Meaning of Commodities

 
Obsolescence and Waste

 
The Commoditization of Everything?

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 3. Subjects of Consumption: Passive Dupes or Active Agents?
Emulation, Distinction, or Rebellion?

 
Passive Dupes?

 
Utility or Hedonism?

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 4. The Places and Spaces of Consumption
The City, Arcades, and Department Stores

 
Shopping Malls and Big-Box Stores

 
Wal-Mart: Killing the Category Killers?

 
Amazon.com and E-Commerce

 
The Privatization of Public Space

 
Conclusion

 
 
PART II. APPLYING THE CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK: CASE STUDIES
 
Chapter 5. Food
Food as an Object of Consumption

 
Food and the Subjects of Consumption

 
Food and the Places of Consumption

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 6. Tourism
Tourism and the Objects of Consumption

 
Tourism and the Subjects of Consumption

 
Tourism and the Places of Consumption

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 7. Higher Education
Higher Education as a Place of Consumption

 
Higher Education as an Object of Consumption

 
Higher Education and the Subjects of Consumption

 
Conclusion

 
 
PART III. ETHICAL CONCERNS AND CONSUMER ACTIVISM
 
Chapter 8. Political Consumerism and the Consumer Movement
Political Consumerism: A Brief History

 
The Consumer Movement

 
Political Consumerism: A New Era

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 9. Credit and Debt
Liberalization of Financial Markets and the Credit Industry

 
Debtor-Creditor Relationships

 
Debt Forgiveness and Relief

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 10. Alternative Forms of Consumption
Frugality, Sacrifice, Austerity, and Postmaterialism

 
The Voluntary Simplicity Movement

 
Do-It-Yourself Movement

 
Local Currency Movement

 
Consumer Cooperatives

 
Collaborative Consumption and the Sharing Economy

 
Co-Creation, Presumers, and Prosumption: Free Consumer Labor

 
Reduce, Reuse, and Dematerialism

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 11. Conclusion: The Globalization of Mass Consumer Culture
Globalization and Localization

 
China: Global Brands and Belonging

 
India: Nationalism and Resistance

 
Conclusion

 
 
References
 
Index
Key features

FEATURES:

  • The opening chapter gives a historical and conceptual context to consumption, documenting the rise of mass consumption in modern society and summarizing recent theoretical and empirical work on the importance of consumption and consumers.
  • Part I establishes a conceptual framework for the book, discussing the objects and subjects of consumption and the public and private spaces where consumption takes place.
  • Part II provides case studies of consumption in three familiar domains of social life: food, tourism, and higher education.
  • Part III addresses ethical concerns and consumer activism, such as boycotts, the morality of debt, and the voluntary simplicity movement.
  • The book concludes by exploring the globalization of consumer culture in general and specifically the rise of consumerism in China and India.
  • Each chapter features a box that includes a brief synopsis of a relevant issue or topic connected to the chapter's content and three discussion and/or application questions. 

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 3

Chapter 9


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