We are inescapably confronted by ‘consumer society’ and ‘consumer culture’: the inexhaustible world of goods and the declarations that we are born to consume and are defined by our consumption. But do we know what this really means – and is it so simple? Showing the cultural and institutional processes that have brought the notion of the ‘consumer’ to life, this book guides the reader on a comprehensive journey through the history of how we have come to understand ourselves as consumers in a consumer society and reveals the profound ambiguities and ambivalences inherent within. Rooted in sociology, Roberta Sassatelli also draws on history, anthropology, geography, and economics to give:
A history of the rise of consumer culture around the world
A richly illustrated analysis of theory from neo-classical economics, to critical theory, to theories of practice and ritual de-commoditization
A compelling discussion of the politics underlying our consumption practices
An exemplary introduction to the history and theory of consumer culture, this book provides nuanced answers to some of the most central questions of our time. Consumer Culture will be essential reading for students and researchers in the many disciplines that now study consumer culture, including sociology, cultural studies and history.