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The Saturated Society

The Saturated Society
Governing Risk & Lifestyles in Consumer Culture

May 2009 | 224 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
"A provocative and stimulating intervention in a debate of key contemporary importance." - Chris Shilling, University of Kent

Why in a modern society educated in the dangers of alcohol, smoking, and drug abuse is it so difficult to implement preventive policies? How can policy makers justify public intervention into private life? And why does this interference often translate into contradictory or non-reflexive politics on lifestyles?

This erudite title discusses the social, cultural, and policy consequences of these conditions as well as the effect of the primacy of agency and choice upon regulation.

Carefully analyzing the impact of the rise of consumer society it deftly argues that the saturation of the modern ideals of progress, individualism, and the democratic state has limited lifestyle regulation to stressing the self-responsibility of individuals within a free market.

The book critically examines:

  • Neo-Liberal ideology and the free market
  • The Sociology of Modernity
  • The New Consumer Society
  • Citizenship in Mass Society
  • The power of Autonomy
  • The interaction of Regulation and Agency

It provides a developed genealogical account of the saturated society, enriched by original case-studies, and engaging with a broad range of traditional approaches and sources - including the work of Ulrich Beck, Anthony Giddens, Adam Smith, and Pierre Bourdieu.

This well researched and thought-provoking work will be of interest to students of social policy and sociology as well as policy-makers and field workers.

Lifestyle and the Social Bond
The Good Order of Nature: Progress and Criticism in Adam Smith's Sociology of Modernity
Autonomy: the Contracting individual
Intimacy: the Romantic Self
The New Consumer Society and Its Critics
The Welfare State in the Consumer Society
From Pastoral to Epistolary Power
Inner-Directed or Other-Directed? Agency and Citizenship in Mass Society
Re-Inventing the Social Contract

A provocative and stimulating intervention in a debate of key contemporary importance.
Chris Shilling
Professor of Sociology, University of Kent

Pekka Sulkunen offers a fresh look at the transition from industrial society to consumer capitalism. He asks important questions about how consumer desires are produced and regulated and what it means to attempt to regulate the way we live. This book is stimulating, erudite and important.
Sue Scott
Pro Vice Chancellor at Glasgow Caledonian University

'A wide-ranging and multidimensional book...Overall, this is an interesting, thought-provoking and challenging book, and there is much in the thesis of the saturated society that we might usefully reflect upon.'
Acta Sociologica September

'The Saturated Society is an erudite and well reflected analysis of the complexities

of current consumer culture in general as well as in relation to the handling of specific risk and lifestyle issues of consumption... indispensable for the consumption researcher who wishes to be provoked in relation to her/his own habitual analytical assumptions about consumer culture.'
Journal of Consumer Culture

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter One

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