Consumer Culture: History, Theory and Politics by Roberta Sassatelli

By Roberta Sassatelli

Displaying the cultural and institutional techniques that experience introduced the thought of the ‘consumer’ to lifestyles, this e-book courses the reader on a accomplished trip in the course of the historical past of the way we have now come to appreciate ourselves as shoppers in a shopper society and divulges the profound ambiguities and ambivalences inherent inside. Rooted in sociology, Roberta Sassatelli additionally attracts on background, anthropology, geography, and economics to offer an exemplary advent to the background and idea of purchaser tradition.

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Sample text

From courts to cities, from luxuries to fashion Sombart’s work on luxury has been defined as ‘[t]he best general treatment of the relationship between demand, the circulation of valuables, and long-term shifts in commodity production’ (Appadurai 1986b, 36; see also Mukerji 1983; and for a sociological appraisal Grundmann and Stehr 2001). His reflections on consumption help us to consider the importance of a long process, both cultural and material, in which a new form of consumption linked to non-essential goods and social mobility ended up catalysing industrialization.

We may also see that their styles and tastes reverberate outside their circles, influencing a variety of more or less distant social groupings especially through the mediation of a host of cultural goods and professions. The courts also had a propulsive role because they found themselves at the centre of large modern cities, which acted as cultural amplifiers and were also huge concentrations of commerce. qxd 3/27/2007 7:04 PM Page 27 Capitalism and the Consumer Revolution 27 imitation, hybridization and opposition coupled with the spread of new nonessential goods.

Qxd 3/27/2007 7:04 PM Page 25 Capitalism and the Consumer Revolution 25 followed the tastes and styles of the courts, bringing new extravagant desires to the whole of society. For Sombart, sexuality as eroticism and sensory delight was intimately linked to personal luxury and materialism, that which excited sight, smell, hearing, etc. in a refined way. Of course, once they were hooked, the mechanism of luxury also nourishes the desire human beings have to compare themselves with others and to demonstrate their status.

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