Consumer Culture and Society offers an introduction to the study of consumerism and consumption from a sociological perspective. Author Wendy Wiedenhoft Murphy examines what we buy, how and where we consume, the meanings attached to the things we purchase, and the social forces that enable and constrain consumer behavior. Opening chapters provide a theoretical overview and history of consumer society and featured case studies look at mass consumption in familiar contexts, such as tourism, food, and higher education. The book explores ethical and political concerns, including consumer activism, indebtedness, alternative forms of consumption, and dilemmas surrounding the globalization of consumer culture.
Foreword and Acknowledgments About the Author Chapter 1. Introduction: Historical Context and Theoretical Tensions Historical Context Positioning the Concept of Consumption: Tensions and Contradictions Organization of the Book PART I. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK Chapter 2. Objects of Consumption: Commodities and Mass Consumer Society The Production of Commodities The Value of Commodities The Meaning of Commodities Obsolescence and Waste The Commoditization of Everything? Conclusion Chapter 3. Subjects of Consumption: Passive Dupes or Active Agents? Emulation, Distinction, or Rebellion? Passive Dupes? Utility or Hedonism? Conclusion Chapter 4. The Places and Spaces of Consumption The City, Arcades, and Department Stores Shopping Malls and Big-Box Stores Wal-Mart: Killing the Category Killers? Amazon.com and E-Commerce The Privatization of Public Space Conclusion PART II. APPLYING THE CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK: CASE STUDIES Chapter 5. Food Food as an Object of Consumption Food and the Subjects of Consumption Food and the Places of Consumption Conclusion Chapter 6. Tourism Tourism and the Objects of Consumption Tourism and the Subjects of Consumption Tourism and the Places of Consumption Conclusion Chapter 7. Higher Education Higher Education as a Place of Consumption Higher Education as an Object of Consumption Higher Education and the Subjects of Consumption Conclusion PART III. ETHICAL CONCERNS AND CONSUMER ACTIVISM Chapter 8. Political Consumerism and the Consumer Movement Political Consumerism: A Brief History The Consumer Movement Political Consumerism: A New Era Conclusion Chapter 9. Credit and Debt Liberalization of Financial Markets and the Credit Industry Debtor-Creditor Relationships Debt Forgiveness and Relief Conclusion Chapter 10. Alternative Forms of Consumption Frugality, Sacrifice, Austerity, and Postmaterialism The Voluntary Simplicity Movement Do-It-Yourself Movement Local Currency Movement Consumer Cooperatives Collaborative Consumption and the Sharing Economy Co-Creation, Presumers, and Prosumption: Free Consumer Labor Reduce, Reuse, and Dematerialism Conclusion Chapter 11. Conclusion: The Globalization of Mass Consumer Culture Globalization and Localization China: Global Brands and Belonging India: Nationalism and Resistance Conclusion References Index