In this engaging new book Gerda Reith introduces the key theoretical concepts in the sociology of consumption, considering the work of Foucault, Bataille and Bourdieu, amongst others. Through this she addresses the role of consumption in the creation of individual identity and in the formation of social groups based on lifestyle and leisure pursuits. She also assesses how our concept of 'normal' consumption has grown out of efforts to regulate behaviour which might otherwise be defined as disruptive or deviant and how in the contemporary world the 'dark side' of consumption has been medicalized in terms of addiction, pathology and irrationality.
In the second half of the book she presents four extended case studies of gambling, drugs, shopping and food in which students are encouraged to apply the theoretical concepts which were introduced in the first part of the book.
Addicitive Consumption: Capitalism, Modernity and Excess will be essential reading for students of consumption, sociology and cultural studies.
Part 1: Theoretical Introduction: Rational Consumers in a Liberal Market? 1. Free to Choose? 2. The Regulation of Consumption 3. The Emergence of Consumption: Rationalisation and Medicalisation 4. The Model of Excess 5. The Notion of Risk: The 'Risk Society' Part 2: Case Studies: The Regulation of Consumption and the Creation of the 'Rational' Consumer 6. Drugs: 'Addictive' Consumption 7. Food: Consumption and Abstinence 8. Gambling: 'Risky' Consumption 9: Shopping: 'Irrational' Consumption Conclusion: The Contradictions of Consumer Culture