Western culture is awash with the advertising, brand-names and labels of conspicuous consumerism. Accordingly, consumerism has become central to critical discussions of identity, postmodernity and culture as never before.
And yet critiques of consumerism are largely confined to those who argue either for or against notions of elitism or manipulation. Theorists such as Bauman, Giddens and Hall do not offer alternatives to consumerism, but argue that it is an all-enveloping and inescapable imperative, and a dominant motivation in contemporary life.
This book challenges the assumptions behind these discussions of consumerism, and to broaden our understanding of the true nature of contemporary society. Lodziak argues that all-encompassing visions of consumerism are useful only as an ideology. They are not a realistic representation of modern culture and society, and, therefore, the understanding of identity that they offer is limited. In The Myth of Consumerism Lodziak opens up the debate, offering a cogent critique of consumer culture and analysing the role it really plays in our lives.
Conrad Lodziak teaches Media Studies at Nottingham Trent University. Following his deportation from the USA in 1972 for anti-American activities, Lodziak has been involved in a variety of oppositional projects. He is the author of Andre Gorz: A Critical Introduction (Pluto,1997), and The Myth of Consumerism (Pluto, 2002).
Preface Acknowledgements Introduction Part One THE IDEOLOGY OF CONSUMERISM 1. The Latest Ideology of Consumerism 2. The Symbolic Value of Consumption 3. Consumption, Identity and Lifestyle 4. Consumption and Freedom Part Two EXPLAINING INDIVIDUAL CONSUMPTION 5. Compelled to Consume 6. Compelled to Consume More Part Three CONSUMPTION, CAPITALISM AND POST-CAPITALISM 7. Consumption for What? Digression: Elitism, Adorno and Football Notes and References Index