consumer culture

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consumer culture

  1. the orientation in modern capitalist societies to the marketing and consumption of goods and services.
  2. the ‘status differentiated’ and ‘market segmented’ culture of modern societies, in which individual tastes not only reflect the social locations (age, gender, occupation, ethnicity, etc), but also the social values and individual LIFESTYLES, of consumers.
Whereas previously sociology has tended to regard consumer culture as manipulative and stage-managed, it is today evident that neither a model of cultural manipulation nor a model of individual ‘consumer sovereignty’, as preferred by economists, alone adequately describes the processes involved. As indicated by Featherstone (1990), in modern capitalist consumer societies, consumption:
  1. is continuously encouraged in order for production to occur, and to provide inducement to work;
  2. has become a significant source of status differentiation for all social groups;
  3. is a major source of our pleasures, and our dreams.

All three of these aspects of consumer culture must be seen as involving complex, sometimes contradictory, relations. On the one hand, new manipulations of wants undoubtedly occur, e.g. as with elements of the fictitious ‘nostalgia’ and ‘PASTICHE’ generated in association with tourism and the new ‘heritage’ industry (see Rojek, 1993). On the other hand – as suggested, for example, by theories of POST-FORDISM -production is increasingly oriented to specialist needs, allowing greater cultural variety and greater individual choice and self-expression. Thus the new interest in consumer culture has brought ‘cultural questions to the fore’ and is seeking to move beyond the merely negative evaluation of consumer pleasures associated with previous theories of MASS CULTURE. See also ADVERTISING, BAUDRILLARD, POSTMODERNISM.

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The historian Steven Bunker offers a notable and often fun history of the modern consumer culture that bourgeoned in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Mexico City.
Claims about the feminization produced by consumer culture, or men's and women's participation in it, need not be substantiated, since the narrative about the feminization of the (masculine) individual by (feminine) social forces is a seductive fiction that has the force of ideology--that is, it is not understood as ideological because it has been naturalized as "reality.
6) Why this aversion to linking Luce to the consumer culture is a topic for another time.
As an exemplar of westernized Turkish consumer culture, the cultural context of Izmir provides a rich source for data collection.
James Grehan's important and thought-provoking publication is the first book in English to focus expressly on consumer culture and consumption patterns in the Ottoman provincial capital of Damascus during the mid-eighteenth century.
He explores and endorses the juncture of consumer culture and race in a remarkable range throughout various subjects such as public events, literary texts, publishing, advertising, and mass culture in the United States in the period from 1893 to 1933, in which the Harlem Renaissance, the remarkably fruitful era of African American arts and their social impact, is included.
Any collection strong in regional American tourism, food, and in Southern culture will relish DIXIE EMPORIUM: TOURISM, FOODWAYS, AND CONSUMER CULTURE IN THE AMERICA SOUTH.
Chinese Medicine Men: Consumer Culture in China and Southeast Asia, by Sherman Cochran.
There's a defiance that seethes underneath her words and performance - a poem about a younger brother with a learning disability becomes a lesson in learning to speak for those who can't; a surreal tail of a plastic cactus becomes a meditation on consumer culture.
Reading Germany: Literature and Consumer Culture in Germany before 1933.
They try to minimize their participation in what they see as an out-of-control consumer culture.

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