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Anyway, at this point, it could be useful to make a distinction. For me, when we talk about mass culture we are not talking just and necessarily of consumerism, but perhaps more of rituals and activities that are deep-rooted within the consumerist society; this has then for sure been emphasized to an excess, in quantity and in stimulation and expansion of people’s needs. Indeed, Chandra Mukerji (1983) has historically described examples of consumer culture in the 15th Century Europe, where the exchange of media culture, such as books, exotic pieces from far places, jewels, spices and textures, was usual among royalty and upper classes (Wilk, 2002). Moreover, Peter Corrigan argues that the concept of ‘fashion’ was already well known in the Elizabethan times, when London was the center of trends (1997).

“Société de Consommation / Consumer Society”

Lee, Martyn J., ed. The Consumer Society Reader. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers, 2000.

Consumerism and society - SlideShare

Baudrillard uses the word ambience for capitalism’s control of society through its incorporation into consumption. It produces a kind of diffuse, mobile experience of life. The lack of situatedness is partly compensated by the role of objects. In consumer society, we are surrounded by objects – often objects split from their place and function. We become object-like from living among objects, much as wolf-children become wolf-like. The code is substituted for the referential dimension of language. People are caught in a world much of which is merely an internal, technical product of the code.

Defining a consumerist society | Philipp Babcicky

This book offers a new perspective on sociological studies of the consumer society, introducing neglected normative questions relating to the good life and human flourishing - subjects more commonly discussed in fields of moral, political, and social philosophy. With attention to a wide range of subjects, including postemotional law and responsibility, dehumanised consumption and prosumerism, fashion, embodiment, conspicuous consumption, and sustainability, this book analyzes the structural and cultural transformations that can be identified in consumer society. It also offers a critical - but not pessimistic - view of the important question of whether consumption is leading to an increasing isolation, individualization or commodification of human beings, suggesting an analytical framework for understanding consumer culture and human praxis. Bringing together work from across disciplines by scholars in the US, Europe, and the UK to engage with questions concerning our globalized and globalizing world, where consumerism is a keystone for understanding our contemporary culture and its social structures, Being Human in a Consumer Society will appeal to scholars and students of sociology, social theory, and contemporary philosophy.

Baudrillard, Jean. The Consumer Society: Myths and Structures. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage, 1998.
Research news on consumerism and the effect of consumerism on society and the environment.

Activity 3-3: Consumerism and the Consumer Society


People in consumerist societies live by the influence of advertisements, and often methodically buy things they do not need, and in most cases, cannot afford. This, in turn, leads to greater economic disparity, and despite having the most or latest products, consumerists have a feeling of unfulfillmentd due to spending a lot of money yet having nothing of personal importance.

consumer society; consumer terrorism; consumer unit; consumer-advocate;

consumer society | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

In this work, Baudrillard is trying to answer the classic question of the New Left: why workers and other oppressed groups fall for capitalist ruses and remain attached to the system. His hypothesis is that consumer society operates as a kind of social status competition, which carries a particular ideology. This prefigures his later break with Marxism. Already Baudrillard is suggesting that consumption, rather than production, is at the heart of capitalism.

Consumer society | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

require other ways of being satisfied in a post consumer society the

One might argue that advertisements are simply there to make people aware of the products available to them and serve no purpose other than this. But this is not always the case. Many advertisements and other communications in our consumer society go way beyond this function and attempt to manipulate people into making particular decisions.