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Consumer Culture and Society
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Consumer Culture and Society



© 2017 | 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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